US Open quarterfinal previews: Bencic vs. Vekic; Nadal vs. Schwartzman

US Open quarterfinal previews: Bencic vs. Vekic; Nadal vs. Schwartzman

Plus, Gael Monfils faces Matteo Berrettini and Bianca Andreescu meets Elise Mertens, as the action from Flushing Meadows continues on Day 10.

Belinda Bencic v. Donna Vekic

Once upon a time, when these two prodigies were about 16, it looked like they might be meeting in Grand Slam finals someday. It hasn’t worked out that way so far, but they’re getting closer. Vekic, 23, and Bencic, 22, will play for a spot in their first Grand Slam semifinal—a big milestone. Bencic leads their head to head 2-1, but Vekic won their only meeting of 2019, in a routine straight-setter at Roland Garros. They’re both in good form at the moment, of course, but for different reasons. Vekic fought hard to come back from match point down to beat Julia Goerges in the fourth round, while Bencic was stone cold brilliant in rushing Naomi Osaka off the court. I’ll take the brilliant one over the battler. Winner: Bencic

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Gael Monfils vs. Matteo Berrettini

This heavyweight bout should take up much of the afternoon in Ashe; it feels like a 15-rounder. Monfils and Berrettini have never played, but they were both imperious and efficient in their straight-set fourth-round wins. The young Italian plays a bruising game, muscling the ball with maximum pace and spin. Monfils, perhaps inspired by his girlfriend Elina Svitolina’s run to the semifinals, is in one of his focused phases. If this phase lasts one more round, I’ll pick him to last one more round as well. Either way, this should be a shot-maker’s delight. Winner: Monfils

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Bianca Andreescu vs. Elise Mertens

Andreescu is the de facto favorite to make it out of the top half of the women’s draw and reach the final—some think the 19-year-old should be the favorite to win it all. For her sake, we should hope that Andreescu is not looking as far ahead as the rest of us. Mertens is a quality player who has been ranked as high as No. 12, and who has the game to take advantage of a lull from the Canadian. Judging by many of her recent matches, Andreescu will go through a lull; they tend to happen after she builds a lead—so far, she’s a better fighter than she is a front runner. But when she does give a lead away, she usually gets it back. Winner: Andreescu

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Rafael Nadal vs. Diego Schwartzman

With a 7-0 record against Schwartzman—and 16 more Slam titles—Nadal should be the overwhelming favorite, right? Favorite, yes, but not overwhelming. Schwartzman has taken sets off Nadal in two matches, including one at Roland Garros, and he played a tight three-setter against Rafa at the US Open in 2015. The Argentine also happens to be playing some very good tennis; he’s only dropped one set, to Alexander Zverev. But Nadal has been magic at night here the last few years. If he needs to find that magic again, I’m guessing he will. Winner: Nadal

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Wake up every morning with Tennis Channel Live at the US Open, starting at 8 a.m. ET. For three hours leading up to the start of play, Tennis Channel's team will break down upcoming matches, review tournament storylines and focus on everything Flushing Meadows.

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