|The two ladies left standing square off for the title. (Getty Images)|
Here we are, Super Saturday, a day in tennis that only the U.S. Open can produce. Because the tournament's unique scheduling pattern forces the players to go back-to-back days in the semifinals to the finals, the U.S. Open is able to put on a show from the men's semis to the women's final. Just to make things a little crazier, the New York Mets will be playing baseball right across the railroad tracks, making Queens the happening spot.
It's a schedule that routinely draws criticism, especially on the men's side. It's asking a lot to have them play a best-of-5 on Saturday, then turn around and play another on Sunday. But when Super Saturday is upon us, you won't hear many complaints. It's a spectacle, a great day of tennis and why the U.S. Open wants to keep it. The adjustment to be made might be moving the men's final back to Monday in the future. For now, though, it's status quo, meaning we have a great day in store.
|U.S. Open Day 13|
Here is your look ahead to the matches of Day 13, Super Saturday. Reminder, start times are not exact, especially with the men's semis being contested (the matches can go two hours or five hours). Also, don't forget you can watch the day's action on CBS Sports starting at 11 a.m. ET or online right here.
11 a.m.: Rise and shine! We might have our best match to start the day.
We begin with the No. 3 seed Andy Murray taking on the No. 6 and giant killer Tomas Berdych. Most expected this semifinal to feature Murray vs. Roger Federer, but Berdych crashed that party with his surprising-yet-convincing win over Federer in the quarters.
This is by no means an easy matchup for Murray to skate through into his first U.S. Open final since 2008. Berdych has been a pain in Murray's side, beating the Brit four out of the six times they have met. The positive to take out of that for Murray? The last time they met on a hard court, Murray was the victor, this year in Dubai.
However, what doesn't show up anywhere are the intangibles. As much as I despise their inclusion in sports discussions, sometimes they do matter. Murray is having another solid year and had his first quasi-breakthrough by winning the Olympic gold medal this summer in London. Consider it to be like a mini-break instead of a full on-service break. It was a confidence builder.
Moreover, Murray must know this is one of the best chances he will get. That's not to say Berdych is an easy foe; of course he's not. But it's rare that Murray has a chance to reach the final of a Slam without having to go through one of the other Big Four players of Federer, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, men who have foiled him time and time again.
Berdych seemed to be completely unfazed by the task of facing Federer in the quarters. Other than a shaky stretch late in the third set that felt like the beginning of a Federer comeback, he was on top of his game, holding his composure. He broke Federer five times in a four-set match, almost unheard of. In fact, he has had at least four breaks of serve in every match thus far in this tournament, putting an increased onus on Murray to get his first serve in more often than not.
The prediction here is Murray will win, but by no means is that a comfortable one. Berdych is more than capable of beating Murray.
3 p.m.: Taking a guess on the start time, the second men's semifinal will serve as the appetizer to the main course later in the day.
The reigning champ and favorite to win this year, No. 2 Novak Djokovic, faces the workman-like Spaniard, No. 4 David Ferrer. Of the two matches on the men's side, it has the higher-seeded, and thus presumably better players. We'll have to see if that makes a better match or not.
As expected coming into the tournament, Djokovic has been dominant. He breezed through his matches to the quarterfinals, where he faced a stiff challenge in Juan Martin Del Potro, a past champ in Flushing Meadows. Del Potro brought his best game and still wasn't able to take a set from Djokovic. As far as three-set wins in best-of-5 matchups, it was one of the best and most competitive you'll see. The rallies were crazy good as Djokovic's defensive abilities and shot-making skills were on full display.
Ferrer is a player who doesn't get a lot of attention partly because he has been stuck in the same era as four great players ahead of him, but also because his game isn't all that flashy. He just goes out and gets the job done.
His fitness and defensive abilities are the strengths of the game, but his fitness might be tested in this one. Granted, he has had a day to recover but he was pushed as far as he could be in the quarterfinals by Janko Tipsarevic, needing a fifth-set tiebreak to reach this point, his second U.S. Open semifinal appearance. The point is, it shouldn't be much of a factor. But if it is, it obviously favors Djokovic, who has played the minimum amount of sets to get this far.
This isn't to disrespect Ferrer but more to respect Djokovic: I don't foresee this match being all that close. Djokovic is playing so well and remains a heavy favorite to repeat as the U.S. Open champ. Clearly that requires him to get through Ferrer first.
7 p.m.: Finally, we have the ladies' final under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It provides one of, if not the best, atmospheres in all of tennis.
As far as expectations go, we got the best matchup we could probably have hoped for. No. 1 Victoria Azarenka shoots for her first U.S. Open title against No. 4 Serena Williams. Obviously the seeds lie. Serena isn't the fourth-best player in the women's field; she's the best. Serena is a big favorite going into this match.
It's worth mentioning, though, that Serena was a big favorite this time a year ago and lost to Samantha Stosur in stunning fashion. Frankly, Stosur wiped the court with Serena in that match, one that included the infamous foot fault and Serena's threatening of a line judge. She'll have to avoid that kind of loss of composure again this time around.
It is just so difficult to imagine Serena losing this match. She has been playing so well, it's almost frightening. The most games she has dropped in a match was six, in the second round. In the last three matches, theoretically her toughest, she lost only seven games. That's a crazy level of domination.
Azarenka, meanwhile, has had to labor to get this far. She had two very difficult matchups in a row against Stosur and Maria Sharapova. To be fair, though, that was some stiff competition, particularly compared to Serena, who went through Ana Ivanovic and Sara Errani. Azarenka deserves credit for that, getting through a pair of past champs. One more lies in her path.
The head-to-head series, like most everything else, doesn't bode well for Azarenka. These two have met 10 times previously, nine of those won by Serena. That includes seven wins in a row, three in 2012. The only time that Azarenka beat Serena was in 2009 at Key Biscayne. But she is the winner of the other hard-court major this year and is very clearly on her best surface.
The winner is the only player to win two majors this year on the WTA circuit and likely takes home the Player of the Year honor as well. The guess here? Serena in straight sets. It's hard not to pick her after seeing her not so much as sweat thus far.