US Open: Women's Quarter-Final Draw Preview

Tennis Player Holds Racquet

We preview the women's quarter-finals at the 2017 US Open with matches set to get underway on 5 September 2017.

What a year this has been for the States at the US Open, even without national treasure Serena Williams. There is an American in every women’s quarterfinal, which leaves the prospect- however unlikely- of an all-American roster for the semis. Coco was my dark horse prior to the tournament and she hasn’t disappointed. Coming from a family steeped in sporting lore, Vandeweghe faces World Number 1 Plisikova in a mouth-watering tie.

Then there are the comeback queens. Petra Kvitova has returned from the dreadful stabbing incident that threatened to destroy her career, while Sloane Stephens has enjoyed a remarkable return from a serious foot injury. But perhaps most remarkable is the story of Kala Kanepi, whose current ranking of 418 reflects two years ravaged by illness and injury.

2017 US Open | Women's Quarter-Final Draw | Tuesday 5 September - Wednesday 6 September | Flushing Meadows

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Karolina Plisikova 11/20 | Coco Vandeweghe 13/10
The World Number 1 Czech was imperious in her 4th Round win over American Brady, only dropping 1 game in a straight sets victory. She will once again play the role of Public Enemy Number 1 as yet another American opponent awaits. Coco Vandeweghe overcame a spirted Lucie Safarova to set up her 3rd Grand Slam Quarterfinal of the year. She is looking to at least match her semi-final showing at Melbourne as she looks to extend a remarkable tournament for the American women.

Plisikova, last year’s beaten finalist, enjoys a 2-2 head-to-head record against Vandeweghe. Perhaps more pressing is the fact that Plisikova leads their hardcourt series 2-1, with their last meeting ending with a Plisikova victory in Stuttgart. Having said all that, Plisikova has shown a propensity to cave on the bigger stage, almost single-minded in her determination to smash every ball harder than the last. Her semi-final loss to Murguruza in Cincinnati was a great example of this. I really think that Coco- with a Grand Slam season that shows her mettle- could pull off a major upset here.

Verdict: Coco has the ability to go toe to toe with the Czech from the baseline and looks great value to pull off an upset here. If she can prevent Plisikova from finding her metronomic service rhythm- so crucial in maintaining her razor-thin hold on the Number One Spot this year- I think that Coco could keep the Star-Spangled spirit alive at 11/8. 

Kala Kanepi 36/10 | Madison Keys 1/6
Klia Kanepi is currently ranked 418 in the world after 2 years in the tennis wilderness. The former World Number 15 only played 1 match last year, suffering illness through the Epstein-Barr Illness and debilitating pain in her feet through plantar fasclitis. Having reached 6 Grand Slam Quarterfinals prior to the setbacks, she probably could never have dreamed that she would go this deep this week. She is actually only the 2nd qualifier to ever make the Women’s quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.

Madison Keys was simply sensational in the final set against Svitolina. The way she composed herself and managed to hit the lines was unbelievable. This has been the 4th straight year she had reached the 4th Round Stage here, and now she is into her 1st ever Grand Slam Quarterfinal. She has already won this year in Stanford, where she managed to overcome Murguruza and Vandeweghe in the semi-final and final respectively.

Verdict: Kanepi has actually won their only ever encounter; they had a match in the 2015 Madrid Masters ON Clay. But this one seems a lottery to me. And giving that lottery spirit, I’m going to opt for the massive returning Kaneppi. 

Venus Williams 11/10 | Petra Kvitova 13/20
Venus Williams has had a remarkable Grand Slam season, without quite sealing the deal. She reached the final in Australia and Wimbledon, losing to her sister and Murguruza respectively. In fact, if she were to reach the final here it would be the first time since 2002 that she reached three Grand Slam finals in one season, all while battling a rare fatigue-related illness. She looked jaded against Suarez-Navarro and meets a player with an even more remarkable narrative than her own.

Kvitova has a 4-1 career record against Venus Williams, although their last meeting was actually in Beijing in 2014, so that would seem to count for little. It’s a miracle Kvitova is actually playing considering that knife attack in December that left her career in the balance. But the Czech, former 2 time Wimbledon champion has looked brilliant in New York, pulling off a major upset by knocking out current queen of grass Garbine Murguruza in the last round.

Verdict: I can’t help but think that this may be a step too far for Williams. She honestly looked decimated against Suarez-Navarro, and I think that Kvitova’s performance against Murguruza was perhaps the best in the tournament thus far. Kvitova is the slight favourite but still represents better value at 7/10. 

Anastasija Sevatsova 5/4 | Sloane Stephens 11/20
This is one for the romantics, with both Sevatsova and Stephens defying conventional en route to the final. Anastasija Sevatsova retired from the sport in 2013 with chronic back problems among other ailments. She returned to the sport only to reach the US Quarterfinals last season. Sevatsova beat both Garbine Murguruza and Johanna Konta in that campaign. So she clearly has an affinity for this surface, which was only exacerbated by that brilliant performance against the villain of this year’s Open: Maria Sharapova.

Sloane has really taken the US Hardcourt season by storm after returning from an 11 month hiatus due to a serious foot injury. She lost in the opening round of Wimbledon and Washington, only to serenely sail to the semi-finals in both Toronto and Cincinnati. She now sits on the precipice of making her joint best run in a Grand Slam: she is a former semi-finalist in Melbourne. Stephens has looked exceptionally strong from the baseline and will do well to temper her aggression with some pragmatism- Sharapova’s insistence on going for her shots in a no-holds barred manner against Sevatsova backfired when the errors started to fly.

Verdict: While Sevatsova has nothing to lose and performed well against Sharapova, I believe that Stephens has been building up a head of steam for a month now, and she looks geared for a deep run in New York. Stephens to win at 11/20 actually seems pretty reasonable. 



Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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