Grand Slam, grand finale


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Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal did what was expected of them -
one rather more convincingly than the other - to ensure that the top four seeds
are the final four men standing at the US Open.

And, thanks to the rain - oh, glorious rain! - we can now
sit back, relax and marvel at a day of tennis action that hardly needs ramping
up, despite the television networks best efforts with their moniker of Super

Nadal takes on Murray on Arthur Ashe after Novak Djokovic kicks
off the day's proceedings against Roger Federer. And if that isn't enough to
sate the average tennis fan's needs, there's also the small matter of a certain
Serena Williams versus Caroline Wozniacki in the women's semi.

Such is the incredibly high calibre of those match-ups it's
entirely understandable, if a little unfortunate, that the other ladies' semi -
Sam Stosur's match-up with Angelique Kerber - barely registers on the

Yet even without the huge names involved, that clash has its
own clear attraction and it's a shame it has been shunted out of the spotlight
and onto the third showcourt (Louis Armstrong is still riddled with
water-filled bubbles and cracks) at 6pm local time.

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Once the USTA decided to play the women's final on Sunday,
it was always going to be impossible to squeeze all four semi-finals into one
day and on one court. Blame a certain television channel's immovable window
policy if you like.

Something had to give and the obvious choice to get the axe
was this match. Still, it hasn't stopped yet more outrage at the by now rather
embattled USTA.

But back to the big boys for a moment. This is usually the
time for bold predictions, but this time there really is no point. Any one of
them can win on Saturday.

That said, Rafa proved in his destruction of Andy Roddick
that he is a player reaching the heights of his powers at just the right time. He
is still to lose a set at this year's tournament - the only player boasting
that record - and some of his groundstrokes against the American were simply
awesome. It was world number one Rafa all over again.

But then you remember how difficult Murray is proving to
beat this year. He may not have enjoyed the same one-sided scoreline in his
match against John Isner, but his opponent was always going to be a trickier
customer than Roddick.

And what about Djokovic? Imperious is the best word to
describe the Serb. Dismissive of his opponents even. His form has been
sensational this year and it would take a brave man to bet against him picking
up a third Grand Slam title this year.

Which brings us to Federer, a man who has of late rolled
back the years with some delightfully aggressive tennis, proving to many
doubters that there is life in the old dog yet. And as long as there is life in
the old dog, he simply cannot be ruled out, especially at an event he has won
five times previously.

The only prediction that Tramlines is going to make is that Saturday
will indeed be super. Oh, and maybe that rain will spoil the whole thing.

- - -

Point of the day: One
of them at least, courtesy of Andy Murray.

British domination at
Flushing Meadows
: With a headline like that, you may be forgiven for thinking
Tramlines has been smoking some potent herbs. But Trammers would have no
problems passing a drugs test right now and indeed it is true: the Brits are
dominating the US Open. In the boy's tournament, three out of the four
semi-finalists are British - George Morgan, Oliver Golding and Kyle Edmund. The
bad news is that the one player breaking up a British clean sweep in the semis
is a certain Jiri Vesely, the top seed and favourite to claim the title.

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Fan of the day: First
Lady Michelle Obama took Flushing Meadows by storm, having a knock-up with
Serena before hitting the main showcourt to watch the day's play in glorious
weather conditions.

Fallacy of the day:
US tennis is supposed to be in a bit of a hole at the moment, but this tournament
has proved otherwise with two American men making it to the quarters and Serena
favourite to lift the women's title, plus a wealth of encouraging performances
from youngsters like Donald Young, Vania King, Sloane Stephens, Christina
McHale and Irina Falconi. And with Melanie Oudin and Jack Sock lifting the mixed
doubles title
, it appears that the future of US tennis is in good hands.

Caption competition:

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