How to watch: ESPN; streaming on ESPN+ and ESPN3.
Bianca Andreescu wins again.
Of course a shaky start didn’t bother 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu. She has brimming with confidence gained from not losing a completed match since February.
Despite a shoulder injury that sidelined her for months, Andreescu has soared from No. 152 to No. 15 in the rankings, and now she is in her first Grand Slam semifinal.
She defeated Elise Mertens, 3-6-6-2, 6-3, on Wednesday night and will play Belinda Bencic in the semifinals on Thursday.
In her first U.S. Open, Andreescu, 19, is hoping to become the first teenager to reach the semifinals of the women’s tournament since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.
“Is this real life?” she said in her post-match interview.
Before Wednesday night, Mertens had lost at the tournament in singles or doubles, a discipline in which she has reached the semifinals alongside Aryna Sabalenka. Mertens had not even lost more than three games in a set through her first nine singles sets.
Playing now: Rafael Nadal vs. Diego Schwartzman
In the second night match, Rafael Nadal will be trying to reach his eighth U.S. Open semifinal The second-seeded Nadal, who brushed past a resurgent Marin Cilic in the round of 16, has looked exceptional through the first week of the U.S. Open. Nadal has won three titles in Flushing Meadows, but withdrew in last year’s semifinal match against Juan Martín del Potro with a knee injury that has plagued him throughout his career. This year, it has looked as if nothing can stop him. With his rivals Djokovic and Federer out of the tournament, Nadal is the heavy favorite to win.
Diego Schwartzman, the No. 20 seed from Argentina, will try to stand in his way. He is playing his second U.S. Open quarterfinal at age 27. He has trained at Nadal’s academy but has lost all seven career matches against him. Schwartzman’s excellent return of serve was on full display in his upset of sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev on Monday. He put so much pressure on Zverev that he committed 17 double faults over the four sets. — MAX GENDLER
Matteo Berrettini wins a marathon vs. Gaël Monfils.
Gaël Monfils bent over at the waist, one hand on his knee and the other resting on the handle of his racket, which supported him like a cane as he tried to catch his breath inside a stifling Arthur Ashe Stadium.
For days the weather at the United States Open had been unusually cool and dry, but humidity rolled back in on Wednesday, testing the fortitude and resolve of the 33-year-old Monfils and his 23-year-old opponent, Matteo Berrettini, as they traded roundhouse punches for nearly four hours of exhausting tennis.
But the atmospheric conditions paled in comparison with the pressure that the two players built on their own through a captivating duel that did not end until the 24th-seeded Berrettini won the 324th point of the match.
With that, Berrettini had defeated the 13th-seeded Monfils, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5), in 3 hours 57 minutes and gained a landmark victory for Italian tennis.
Berrettini advanced to a semifinal against either No. 2 Rafael Nadal or No. 20 Diego Schwartzman, who are scheduled to play a quarterfinal Wednesday night.
Berrettini became only the fourth Italian man to reach the semifinal stage of a Grand Slam singles tournament, joining a contemporary, Marco Cecchinato, who made it to the semifinals at the French Open last year.
But the last male player from Italy to advance to a U.S. Open semifinal was Corrado Barazzutti, who beat Brian Gottfried in a 1977 quarterfinal before losing to Jimmy Connors. Barazzutti sat in Berrettini’s box on Wednesday, cheering, worrying, fretting, gasping and agonizing along with everyone else who saw the match — or played in it.
“I was thinking, one of the best matches I ever saw,” Berrettini said in an on-court interview. “I was playing, but I was watching also.”
Berrettini may have been relieved as much as anything, especially after he double faulted on his first match point — at 5-3, 40-30, of the fifth set. He failed to convert on three more match points, as Monfils kept reaching deep to extend the contest to its limit.
Finally, at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, Monfils hit a return long off a 125-mile-per-hour serve, and Berrettini collapsed on the court. He then jumped up and ran to the net to shake hands with Monfils, pounding his chest as he went.
Defeated players are not known to pound their chests, but Monfils would have been justified in doing so, considering how much heart he, too, showed in the match. Instead the Frenchman slapped Berrettini’s hand at the net, and the two competitors hugged in mutual appreciation.
“What a great fight,” Berrettini said. “I have to say congrats to Gaël.”
Berrettini said he did not remember any specific points, except the match winner. Then he held up one hand and put his thumb and forefinger together.
“I was a little bit tight,” he said, adding sarcastically, “but you didn’t see it, I guess.”
The match featured abrupt momentum swings, and Monfils showed remarkable determination just to stay in it. After he won the first set, fatigue seemed to set in, and he spent time bent over, seeking respite between serves.
Berrettini won the second and third sets with relative ease and appeared to be headed for a four-set victory, as the older player’s exhaustion became more of a factor. But after the fourth set, the stadium roof was closed because of rain, a move that gave both players a chance to rest. They walked off court together during the break.
Berrettini seemed to be in command again in the fifth set, taking a 5-2 lead as the two parried and lunged at each other, shifting from offense to defense many times. Monfils held his serve to make it 5-3, and Berrettini got to his first match point.
His double fault was not even close, the second serve coming in slow and hitting the net. Then Monfils ripped a forehand winner crosscourt, and on break point Berrettini hit a forehand into the net for an unforced error.
Monfils held at 4-5, then looked to break back in the next game. At 15-0, Berrettini’s forehand hit the net tape and bounced onto Monfils’s side of the court. Monfils, who was at the baseline and headed into the right corner, skidded to stop, then ran in and put away a crosscourt approach-shot winner.
“I gave it all today,” said Monfils, who had 17 doubles faults. “I served bad, but I gave my heart.”
Then Berrettini scrambled back and held his serve. Now with Monfils trailing, 5-6, Berrettini had two more match points, which Monfils saved again, one with a tense, 17-shot rally. Monfils ultimately held his serve and sent the match to its only fitting conclusion: a tiebreaker.
It was not easy for Berrettini, of course, but at last his nerve held.
Belinda Bencic defeats Donna Vekic.
Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic are about the same age. They are close friends and frequent practice partners. They were highly touted teenage players who, in their early 20s, were finally meeting late at a Grand Slam tournament.
So it was no surprise that for most of their United States Open quarterfinal on Wednesday, they were separated by only a few points.
But midway through the second set, the 13th-seeded Bencic pulled away to defeat the 23rd-seeded Vekic, 7-6 (5), 6-3, and advance to her first major semifinal.
Bencic was mentored by Melanie Molitor, the mother and coach of Martina Hingis, another Swiss wunderkind.
She played her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in 2014 as a 17-year-old in her U.S. Open debut, and lost to Peng Shuai, 6-2, 6-1. She reached the top 10 at 18.
Bencic hadn’t been back to the final eight of a major since that 2014 Open, her career interrupted in 2017 because of wrist surgery.
Her ranking dropped outside the top 300 and she played low-level professional tournaments in Europe to work her way back. This season she has nine wins over top-10 players, the most on the WTA Tour. She will return to the top 10 next week.
When she was 17, Bencic said getting to the Open quarterfinals “was already very great. I don’t think that was a disappointment losing that.”
But this time she felt like she deserved to be in the semifinals.
“I felt really that I could take it, even though I was very nervous before the match,” she added.
After a tight first set, Bencic broke open the match after Vekic survived a long game, saving two break points, to hold for 3-2. Bencic won the next eight points to take a 4-3 lead and did not lose another game in the match. In the second set, she had only four unforced errors, three of which were double faults.
“I felt like I couldn’t get three good points together,” Vekic said. “I was, like, playing one point good, then bad. I don’t know. I didn’t really have a lot of rhythm out there today.”
On Thursday night, Bencic will play No. 15 Bianca Andreescu, who is also in her first major semifinal.
Bencic was as surprised as anyone that she is the last Swiss player left in singles. Her compatriots Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who have 23 Grand Slam titles between them, lost their quarterfinal matches on Tuesday.
“This is not a good thing,” she said. “I’m not happy about this, actually. I’m kind of surprised, like I think everyone is. It would be really nice if the boys could also make it to semifinals. But I’m happy I can kind of do it for them.” — NAILA-JEAN MEYERS
Jamie Murray closes in on a doubles double.
The schedule on Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday featured six doubles matches, two of them with Jamie Murray of Britain. With his new men’s doubles partner, Neal Skupski, Murray defeated the American team of Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Sock and Withrow, who grew up playing with and against each other in the Midwest, only recently joined forces on the pro tour, but had looked impressive in upsetting two seeded teams, including the Bryan brothers, on the way to the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Murray and Skupski will face the top-seeded team of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who won Wimbledon in July.
A few hours later, Murray was back at Armstrong Stadium for the mixed doubles semifinal with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and they beat Samantha Stosur and Rajeev Ram, 6-3, 6-1. Murray and Mattek-Sands are the defending champions at the U.S. Open. Murray has won four Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles and two in men’s doubles. — MAX GENDLER