On another scorching hot day at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center, the Williams sisters’ quest for a third US Open doubles championship went up in flames after a 7-6, 6-4 quarterfinal loss to the all-Russian duo, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. The fourth-seeded Russians jumped to an early 4-1 lead in the first set, but Venus and Serena fought back to level the score and bring the set into a tiebreak. The Williams' lost the tiebreak, 7-5, but promptly broke Vesnina’s serve in the first game of the second set. The Russians returned the break in the following game, however, refusing to be deterred by the Louis Armstrong stadium crowd favorites.
Serena took a medical timeout after the second game and the match continued on serve until the tenth. Serving at 4-5, Serena double-faulted to provide the Russians with their first match point. Down 30-40, she double faulted again, giving Makarova – on a roll after a fourth round singles win over No. 7 seed Eugenie Bouchard yesterday – and Vesnina the first spot in the women’s doubles semifinals.
In the second women’s quarterfinal of the day, formerly-retired Martina Hingis of Switzerland and Flavia Pennetta of Italy took out the No. 5 seeds, Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, 6-4, 6-3. Hingis, 33, was in classic form in the Grandstand. She and Pennetta were down an early break in the first set, but both teams continued to trade breaks until the match was level at 4-games all. At 30-40 in the ninth game, Pennetta hit a forehand winner to earn a break and the chance to serve for the first set, which she and Hingis went on to win. Hingis and Pennetta broke in third game of the second set to earn a 2-1 lead, and again in the seventh for a 5-2 advantage. Hingis was broken while serving for the match in the following game, but she and Pennetta closed out the match by breaking serve in the next game.
The final women’s quarterfinal match of the day featured No. 3 seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Sania Mirza of India against Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan and Yi-Fan Xu of China. On their run to the quarterfinals, Diyas and Xu beat the No. 6 seeds, Americans Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears and the No. 11 seeds, Lucie Hradecka and Michaella Krajicek. They were unable to upset another seeded pair today, however. After 10 deuces in the second game of the match, Black and Mirza finally broke Xu’s serve and raced to take the first set, 6-1. The No. 3 seeds were up 1-0 in the second set before Diyas retired due to a shoulder injury.
Black and Mirza are set to face Hingis and Pennetta in the semifinals, while Makarova and Vesnina await the winner of tomorrow’s match between No. 8 seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Jie Zheng of China and unseeded Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.
In the first men’s quarterfinal of the day, the all-American duo of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram followed up yesterday’s upset of the No. 3 seeds, Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, with another upset win. Lipsky and Ram defeated the 12th-seeded duo fellow America Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen of South Africa, 6-3, 7-6, to earn the first men’s doubles semifinal spot.
The final quarterfinal match-up of the day featured the No. 1 seeds, Bob and Mike Bryan, against the No. 7 seeds, David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco. The Bryans took down the neon-clad Spaniards, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in what proved to be their toughest match yet. The brothers won the first set in just 20 minutes and looked to be on cruise control, but they dropped the second. Late in the third, the Bryans held off two break points at 4-games all to prevent the Spaniards from earning a crucial break that would have allowed them to serve for the match. Instead, the Bryans prevailed, breaking their opponents in the following game to win the match and keep their hopes of earning a fifth US Open title alive. The Bryan brothers face Lipsky and Ram in an all-American semifinal next.
The remaining two men’s quarterfinal matches are scheduled for tomorrow. No. 4 seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil will take on Argentineans Carlos Berloq and Leonardo Mayer, a duo fresh off of their upset of the No. 8 seeds and 2014 Wimbledon men’s doubles champions, Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil. No. 11 seeded Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez are set to face No. 2 seeds Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil in the other quarterfinal match.
The mixed doubles semifinals are also scheduled for tomorrow. The first match of the day features the all-American duo of Donald Young and Taylor Townsend, who are set for a clash in Arthur Ashe Stadium against fellow American Abigail Spears and her partner, Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico. The second semifinal showcases the No. 1 seeds, Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares, against Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan and Ross Hutchins of England.