Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Robredo stuns Federer, Nadal triumphs

UNEXPECTED RUN:In the women’s singles, Daniela Hantuchova advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time in more than a decade by defeating Alison Riske

Reuters, NEW YORK

Hantuchova had to wait another day before learning who her opponent would be after the fourth-round match between Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic was postponed until yesterday because of the foul weather.

However, it is already guaranteed that Italy will have a semi-finalist after Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci won their fourth-round matches to face each other in a quarter-final.

Vinci beat yet another Italian, Camila Giorgi, 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour, escaping before the US National Tennis Center was drenched by a thunderstorm that sent players and spectators running for cover.

Tournament officials were again forced to cancel dozens of matches, before Pennetta returned to finish off in-form Romanian Simona Halep 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

Pennetta has lost in the quarter-finals on three previous occasions and desperately wants to make it through to the semi-finals for the first time.

She said achieving her goal would come at a heavy price because Vinci is one of her closest friends.

“I think it’s going to be just a really tough match for both of us,” Pennetta said. “We know each other really well... 20 years or more, because we live almost in the same place, just 35, 45km [away].”

A late bloomer, Vinci has hit her peak at an age when a lot of professional players begin to slow down.

The 30-year-old won just one singles match at the US Open between 2001 and 2010, but in the past year and a half she has made it to the fourth round or better in five of the past six majors, reaching a career-high ranking of 11th.

She has also won three Grand Slam doubles titles, to share the world No. 1 ranking with Sara Errani.

“I know that I’m not young, but I’m enjoying playing,” Vinci said. “I have a high ranking, so I’m happy, and I try to stay focused every single day.”

New York’s fickle weather has been a major talking point at the US Open for years, with each of the last five men’s finals spilling into a third week because of rain delays.

For years, US Tennis Association officials balked at the idea of building a roof because of the enormous cost of covering Arthur Ashe Stadium, but they have finally relented, announcing two weeks ago that they would commence a massive renovation program, which would include a roof, by 2016 at the earliest.

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