Photo: Paul ZimmerEugenie Bouchard (CAN)
After a groundbreaking Wimbledon for Canadian tennis, hopes of a repeat in New York were dashed on Day Eight at the US Open.
Eugenie Bouchard, having reached the semifinals or better of each of the three previous Grand Slam tournaments in 2014, looked in good shape to continue that record but fell to the experienced Ekaterina Makarova 76(2) 64.
Bouchard was just one of two remaining top eight seeds left in the draw alongside Serena Williams but could not avoid becoming the latest female casualty as Makarova raced through a first set tiebreak and ripped a blistering forehand up the line return winner to break Bouchard and book her place in the quarterfinals for a second consecutive year.
The Wimbledon runner-up struggled with dizziness in conditions that have troubled a number of players over the past few days.
“I was feeling very light headed and dizzy on the court," Bouchard said. "You know, just seeing things a little blurry. You know, feeling well physically on the court is very important to me, so when I don't feel that - I just generally didn't feel good.”
In the early hours of Tuesday morning at 2:26am, Bouchard was joined on her way out of New York by Milos Raonic as her fellow Canadian fell to Kei Nishikori 46 76(4) 67(6) 75 64 in the longest match of the tournament so far.
The thrilling re-match of their Wimbledon fourth round saw the two top 10 seeded players hit a total of 139 winners over five sets with Nishikori gaining revenge for his SW19 loss.
“It's going to bring confidence for sure for the next round. Yeah, really tough five sets,” Nishikori said before expressing his delight at the crowd support. “Very happy to see a lot of people even 2:00 at the night, I don't even know how they go back home.”
Raonic took little solace in entering US Open history after the late finish before praising the tenth seed.
“I think in general just his foot speed was the most probably difficult part," said Raonic. "He was taking the ball very early, controlling the centre of the court. He was keeping himself in a lot of situations where someone might be out of position. He was getting himself in good position and giving himself good opportunity to swing at the ball properly.”
Andy Murray set up a repeat of the epic 2012 final with Novak Djokovic, where he won his first Grand Slam title, after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 75 75 64; his first top ten victory since winning Wimbledon last year.
The Brit pounced at just the right time in each set as he broke his French opponent, who failed to hold serve to prolong proceedings at 5-6, 5-6 and 4-5 respectively.
Murray hit 45 winners to 18 unforced errors and had an exceptional 90% success rate with his forays into the forecourt.
“I feel like I'm playing well. I'm going to have to play extremely well to win the event or even just to get through the next match. You never know what can happen in a couple of days,” Murray said.
Looking ahead to that match, the 2012 champion revealed his excitement to get on court.
"As much as it's incredibly tough and challenging, the match, that's what you enjoy," he said. "You know, playing on Wednesday, Wednesday night against the No. 1 player in the world is exciting. If you aren't getting motivated or pumped for those matches, then that's when there's a problem and it's time to maybe stop.”
Djokovic made his progress through to the quarterfinals earlier in the day on Louis Armstrong Stadium with a solid serving display to secure a 61 75 64 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The world no.1 won 68% of points behind his second serve and slammed the door shut on the only two break points he had to defend against his German opponent who had matched his best performance at the tournament by reaching the fourth round for a third consecutive year.
Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka remained on their own collision course as both women advanced to the quarter finals with contrasting wins.
Williams, who has beaten Azarenka in the previous two finals, overpowered her Estonian opponent Kaia Kanepi with a 63 63 triumph which saw the American break serve on five occasions.
Azarenka was made to work much harder for her win as she ousted Petra Kvitova’s conqueror Aleksandra Krunic 46 64 64.
The Belarusian, who surprisingly had more success behind her second serve throughout the match, continues to impress as 16th seed after a season troubled by injuries.
Also through to the quarterfinals are Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka who toughed out Tommy Robredo 75 46 76(7) 62 and last year’s surprise women’s semifinalist Flavia Pennetta who saw off the challenge of Australia’s Casey Dellacqua 75 62.
Canada’s Vasek Pospisil also found himself out of the US Open as his hopes of replicating an incredible Wimbledon doubles title run with partner Jack Sock were dashed at the hands of Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer as the Argentines reached the quarterfinals with a convincing 62 62 win.