US Open Monday: Hantuchova Eyes QFs
Published September 01, 2013 12:01
Monday, Fourth Round
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK #48) vs. [WC] Alison Riske (USA #81)
Head-to-head: Hantuchova leads 2-0
Daniela Hantuchova's reward for her Houdini-esque escape against Julia Glushko in the last round is an encounter with wildcard Alison Riske. Yet, despite the gulf in experience and ranking, Riske is on a roll - she is 25-8 since the start of the summer - and will fancy her chances of making the quarterfinals.
Riske is a clean ball striker and if she replicates her past two performances, in which she handily took out Mona Barthel and Petra Kvitova, she is more than capable of keeping her fairytale run going. Hantuchova has won the pair's previous two meetings, the second of which came during her title run in Birmingham this June, and a third will see her into a first US Open quarterfinal since 2002.
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #2) vs.  Ana Ivanovic (SRB #15)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 4-2
After a few years spent searching in vain for the form which once took her to the pinnacle of the game, Ana Ivanovic finally seems to have turned a corner over the past 12 months or so. The improvement has been steady rather than spectacular, but the gifted Serb finally looks ready to compete for the biggest prizes again.
Last year in New York, Ivanovic reached her first major quarterfinal since winning the French Open in 2008, and if she is to repeat the feat she will need to do something that only four other players have achieved in 2013: defeat Victoria Azarenka. With three titles and 39 wins, Azarenka has enjoyed an impressive year and her form appears to be peaking at just the right time; she reached the final in Carlsbad, won the title in Cincinnati and, aside from a first set wobble against Alizé Cornet, has been striking the ball with confidence in the first week.
 Roberta Vinci (ITA #13) vs. [Q] Camila Giorgi (ITA #136)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Italian tennis has been well represented in Flushing Meadows in recent times, with the country producing a quarterfinalist every year since 2008. Roberta Vinci's pairing with surprise package Camila Giorgi ensures this trend will continue for at least another year and also promises to produce a pleasing clash of styles for the spectators on Louis Armstrong.
Giorgi arrived for qualifying a week and a half ago with just six wins to her name in 2013 but has doubled that total with her run to the fourth round. In the last round against Caroline Wozniacki she looked untouchable at times, and if she replicates this fearsome hitting against Vinci she has every chance of becoming just the second qualifier in the tournament's history to reach the quarterfinals.
Around the grounds…
The day's other fourth round match sees another Italian, Flavia Pennetta, take on the in-form Simona Halep, while, in the doubles the Williams sisters continue their quest for a third US Open crown with a tricky third round against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova.