Makarova slays Azarenka

Federer rolls into quarterfinals; Berdych brushes aside Thiem; Dimitrov exits

Makarova slays Azarenka

Russia's Ekaterina Makarova reached the first Grand Slam semifinal of her career on Wednesday, downing former world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-2 at the US Open.

Makarova, a left hander ranked 18th in the world, had fallen in four prior major quarterfinals.

But she out-played two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka, who was runner-up to Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows each of the past two years but has been slowed by injury in 2014.

Makarova will face either world number one and five-time champion Serena Wil­liams or Italian Flavia Pennetta for a place in the final.

Roger Federer rolled into the quarterfinals for the 10th time in 11 years on Tuesday, while experience finally got the better of youth at the year's final Grand Slam.

Five-time champion Federer powered his way past Spain's Roberto Bautista 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, the 33-year-old raising his record on Arthur Ashe Stadium court to a dazzling 25-1.

Facing Federer for the first time, the 26-year-old Spaniard quickly found himself 5-1 down in the opening set to the 17-time Grand Slam winner, who then eased off the gas and coasted to an unflustered straight sets win in just under two hours.

Tomas Berdych thrashed 20-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, and Frenchman Gael Monfils schooled 23-year Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (6), 7-5.

Monfils put aside his showman antics for a more workmanlike approach to his fourth round match and it resulted in victory over the player dubbed "Baby Fed" for his all-around game that resembles Swiss maestro Federer's. Frenchman Monfils, seeded 20th, returns to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2010 for a date with Federer.

"He's got easy top 10 potential," said Federer of Monfils, who has yet to drop a set. "He's a great mover. He's got a wonderful serve, really, which nobody really talks about because of his athletic movement which stands out so much.”

It was not all joy for the French contingent on Tuesday with Gilles Simon losing to big-serving Croat Marin Cilic. Cilic and Simon have played a combined 49 five-setters in their careers so it was no surprise that Tuesday's meeting between the two went the distance.

Cilic had won a five-set marathon over Simon earlier this year at the Australian Open and it was the 14th seeded Croatian coming out on top again 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

While Cilic and Simon battled it out for over four hours in the heat, Federer, Monfils, Berdych, Peng and 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki conserved energy by registering straight-sets wins.

Chinese Shui Peng, 28, delivered a 64-minute master class to 2013 junior world number one Belinda Bencic in an unlikely quarter-final between unseeded players on Tuesday.

Peng will next meet former world number one Wozniacki, who used her aggressive groundstroke game to near perfection in a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Italy's Sara Errani. The 10th-seeded Dane, engaging Errani in long baseline rallies roared to victory in a brisk 65 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Sania-Cara in semis

India’s Sania Mirza and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black hardly broke a sweat as they entered the US Open women's doubles semifinals after their rivals retired midway through the quarterfinal match here.

Sania and Cara, seeded third, defeated the Kazakh-Chinese pairing of Zarina Diyas and Yi-Fan Xu 6-1, 1-0 (retd) in 45 minutes to make the last four stage. They will now face the Swiss-Italian team of Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta. Hingis and Pennetta upstaged fifth seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 6-4, 6-3 in their last-eight match.

In the junior competition, India's Sumit Nagal lost 2-6, 2-6 to seventh seeded Korean Duckhee Lee. 

Results (prefix denotes seedings): Men’s singles, fourth round: 2-Roger Federer (Sui) bt 17-Roberto Bautista Agut (Esp) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2; 6-Tomas Berdych (Cze) bt Dominic Thiem (Aut) 6-1, 6-2, 6-4; 14-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt 26-Gilles Simon (Fra) 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; 20-Gael Monfils (Fra) bt 7-Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-5.  

Women’s singles: Quarterfinals: 17-Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) bt 16-Victoria Azarenka (Bel) 6-4, 6-2; 10-Caroline Wozniacki (Den) bt 13-Sara Errani (Ita) 6-0, 6-1. 

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