Arthur Kapetanakis writes on : The semi-final stage is set after Novak Djokovic, Madison Keys, Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka notched Day 10 victories in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Djokovic and Keys put on performances that showed why they came into their quarter-final bouts as favourites: after Keys defeated Carla Suárez Navarro, 6-3 6-4, Djokovic led by an identical scoreline after two sets against John Millman before closing out the match, 6-4, in set three.
It was a Japanese double-feature in the day session, as Nishikori and Osaka made history by becoming the first Japanese man and woman to reach the semi-finals in the same major.
Djokovic tames Aussie Millman: Millman became an overnight star when he defeated Roger Federer in Round 4, but Djokovic took top billing in the Wednesday nightcap.
It was the Serb’s third consecutive three-set victory, but he was made to work for 2 hours and 49 minutes in a match that was much closer than the scoreline suggested.
Millman dropped serve 4 times on 20 break points, while Djokovic erased the only one he faced.
After Djokovic raced out to a 3-1 lead in the final set, Millman fought back one last time to edge in front, but ultimately, the 13-time Grand Slam champ was too solid in an entertaining affair, and he won the match’s final three games to advance to the semis.
Since 2007, Djokovic has reached the US Open semi-final in each of his 11 New York appearances. He did not play in 2017.
Keys returns to semi-finals: The 23-year-old Keys is already a seasoned veteran in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and her experience in the spotlight showed on Wednesday night as she served her way into the final four.
The 2017 finalist was nearly flawless in her 10 service games, saving the 2 break points she faced in winning 80 percent of her first-serve points.
The American is the highest-seeded woman left in the draw, at No 14, and will face No 20 Naomi Osaka for a spot in the finals.
Nishikori’s revenge: Four years after Marin Cilic beat him in the 2014 final, Nishikori exacted revenge with a five-set victory on Day 10.
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout, with the momentum shifting even deep into the deciding set.
Nishikori scored an early break in the fifth, only for Cilic to level the decider at 4-4, but with the Croat serving to stay in the match, the Japanese ended it with his fifth break on the day.
After four hours and eight minutes, he advanced, 2-6 6-4 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4.
The Japanese spent some time on the ATP Challenger Tour earlier this season as he eased back from a right-wrist injury that he sustained in the buildup to last year’s US Open; he’s come a long way since then, all the way back to his third New York semi-final.
The US Open is the only Slam in which Nishikori has reached the final four, having done so in 2014, 2016 and again this year.
His semi-final matchup with Djokovic will be a repeat of the 2014 semi, which Nishikori won in five.
Osaka into first Slam semi: The innocent 20-year-old was ruthless in taking out Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1 6-1, in the day’s Ashe opener.
Though she admits to being shy, Osaka stepped into the spotlight of the 23,771-seat stadium and put on another big-hitting clinic, firing 12 winners and 5 aces as she made quick work of the Ukrainian.
Osaka, who had never been beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam, has backed up her Indian Wells title with a dominant run in New York.
Outside of her three-set, fourth-round slugfest against No 26 Aryna Sabalenka, Osaka has lost just nine games in four US Open victories.
DOUBLES WRAP: Americans Mike Bryan and Jack Sock advanced to the men’s semi-finals, while top-seeded Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova avoided an upset in the women’s draw.
Mixed doubles action: Coming back from a brutal knee injury (remember when she fell on the court during a net point at Wimbledon in 2017 and had to be rushed to the hospital?), Bethanie Mattek-Sands is through to the final of the mixed-doubles event with Britain’s Jamie Murray.
The pair defeated the American pairing of Christina McHale and Christian Harrison that ended in a thrilling match tiebreak, 6-4 2-6 [10-8].
JUNIOR WRAP: British juniors Aidan McHugh and Emma Raducanu, 16, both reached the third round of their respective singles US Open competitions with impressive wins over Jesper De Jong from the Netherlands and America’s Alexa Noel.
Raducanu’s win caused a major upset of the No 2 seed, and the manner in which she conducted it sent a significant message to the remaining survivors in the girl’s draw, losing just one game.
McHugh’s 6-4 6-1 win was a tighter affair but convincing in its second set romp.
DAY 11 PREVIEW: Two women’s semi-finals headline primetime at the 2018 US Open on Day 11, as four of the sport’s ultimate talents square off in this event’s penultimate round.
The evening’s first offering features Serena Williams taking on Anastasija Sevastova, while the second half of the twi-night doubleheader showcases the clash between Naomi Osaka and Madison Keys.
BritWatch: Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares (BRA) lost to Radu Albot (MDA) & Malik Jaziri (TUN), 7-5 6-4; Jamie Murray & Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d Christian Harrison (USA) & Christina McHale (USA), 6-4 2-6 [10-8]; Anton Matusevich & Adrian Andreev (BUL) d Rinky Hijikata (AUS) & Govind Nanda (USA), 7-6(5) 6-3; Aidan McHugh d Jesper De Jong (NED), 6-4 6-1; Emma Raducanu v Alexa Noel (USA) , 6-0 6-1.
Brits in action on Day 10: Court 4 – Boys Singles R3 / Aidan McHugh v Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) ; Court 5 – Girls Singles R3 / Emma Raducanu v Qinwen Zheng (CH) .
Prime Watch: Amazon Prime has been streaming game 7 match courts in addition to its US Open Live Show channel, available via smart TV, FireStick, computer and mobile device.
These are live television feeds from Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand, and Courts 5, 10, 13 and 17.