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The Top Seeds Fight off Stern Resistance and Serena Triumphs in an All-Williams Clash

Some big names and big surprises were in action Tuesday. Among the players, Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, and Donald Trump were in attendance in today’s action.

The day kicked off with a surprise quarterfinal between Roberta Vinci and Kristina Mladenovic. Mladenovic, the youngster, was playing in her first major quarterfinal while Vinci, the veteran, was playing in her third. Both of them were gunning for their first semifinal. It was a contrast in styles as well; Mladenovic is a tall ball striker with a powerful serve but suspect movement, while Vinci is known for her all-court game and her slice backhand. And in the beginning it was Vinci’s consistency that paid dividends, allowing her to take the first set. She even found herself up a break in the second, but the Frenchwoman rallied, showing some of the big hitting that’s gotten her this far to claim the second set 7-5. The third set was evenly matched until the pivotal, long 3-3 game in which Vinci broke Mladenovic’s serve, carrying that momentum to the finish line, completing a 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory. Vinci will face Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals as the latter is on a quest for a Calendar Grand Slam.

Next on was defending champion Marin Cilic against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Cilic is aiming to be the first since Roger Federer in 2008 to defend his US Open title while Tsonga was aiming to reach the semifinals of the Open for the first time, the only Slam he’s failed to make the semifinal. Both are big servers and big off the ground so it was always going to be a matter of who gets the first strike in. Tsonga had two loose service games in the first two sets which allowed the Croatian to take a 6-4 6-4 lead. Cilic, however, known often for poor mental strength, got tight trying to close the match. He lost the next two sets including a fourth set tiebreaker where he missed out on a slurry of match points on Tsonga’s service games. Despite that, he managed to break at 2-2 in the fifth set. He found himself serving for the match at 5-4 where he double faulted at 40-30. He fell to break point down only to save it with a clutch backhand volley. He closed the match out 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7 6-4. A worthy candidate for match of the year with huge serving and hitting off the ground from both ends.

By far the most anticipated match of today was the all-Williams quarterfinal; younger sister Serena was gunning for the Calendar Year Grand Slam and had all of the pressure on her. Both of them are powerful athletic baseliners with outstanding foot speed. But the younger sister was able to build a much more successful career due to a more reliable serve which most critics believe is the greatest in the women’s game, and a more stable forehand. All of that was on display today as Serena took charge early on putting pressure on the older sister’s weak second serve. She took the first set with relative ease. Venus came firing back against her sister who took her foot off the pedal and ate a breadstick as a result. Returning to business she broke early in the third and closed out a memorable 6-2 1-6 6-3 victory. It ended with the warmest embrace the two have ever had at the net following their matches. Serena was visibly distraught in the press saying it was one of the most difficult thing she had to do.

The final match of the day was Novak Djokovic and Feliciano Lopez; it was a baseliner against a lefty serve and volleyer. Lopez started off poorly with a plenty of errors with some flashy defense from the World #1, letting him win the first set 6-1. The Spaniard was able to show off his net rushing game the following set which gave him a a break advantage which he rode to a 6-3 set win after saving break points in the last service game. He was able to show more of the same in the next two sets but was unable to push off on the important points and Djokovic was able to anticipate and respond to Lopez’s net rushing. These responses include a slurry of deceptive lobs and passing shots. He would win 6-1 3-6 6-3 7-6.

All of Tuesday’s winners made the semifinals and will be joined by two other semifinalists on the men’s and the women’s draws.

Enjoy what you see? Check out all of our complete coverage of the 2015 US Open here.

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