Reporting from New York —
Maria Sharapova was the creator at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Sharapova was the one who came to the net more often, who tried to craft openings by using drop shots, one of which even got her opponent down on the ground, on her back looking up and watching the Sharapova lob sail over her head.
But that lob was just long and Caroline Wozniacki won the point. Even if the 14th-seeded Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam winner, was more the aggressor in this U.S. Open fourth-round match, it was top-seeded Wozniacki who will play in the quarterfinals after her 6-3, 6-4 win.
Though the score makes the match seem unremarkable, the pair played for nearly two hours. Several rallies lasted more than 20 strokes. One lasted 29.
There was much less suspense in the matches involving second-seeded Roger Federer and third-seeded Novak Djokovic, who seem headed to a semifinal appointment.
Federer moved into his 26th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal with a ruthless 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over 13th-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria. The five-time Open champion hasn't lost a set this year.
Djokovic's 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 win over 19th-seeded Mardy Fish was equally dominating. The play of the 28-year-old Fish seemed in slow motion as he struggled to reach Djokovic's shots.
It was easy for Fish to sum up what happened. "He played great," Fish said.
Also advancing on the men's side was fifth-seeded Robin Soderling, who beat one of the six Spaniards who had been left, Albert Montanes, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; and 17th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, who beat countryman Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 7-6, 7-5.
Monfils will play Djokovic in the quarterfinals and Soderling will meet Federer.
Fish's loss means 18th-seeded Sam Querrey of Thousand Oaks and third-seeded Venus Williams are the only Americans left in the singles draw and they both play Tuesday.
Wozniacki's next match will be against unseeded and 45th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia. The unseeded 21-year-old upset 11th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-5, 7-6 (4). At 5 feet 3 inches, Cibulkova is seven inches shorter than Wozniacki, but Wozniacki doesn't consider herself at an advantage.
"Everyone has their strengths, their weaknesses. Someone is short, someone is tall. I think it doesn't matter when you're on the court," Wozniacki said.
Sharapova's downfall in the first set was the fourth game, when she served three straight double faults to get broken and go down 3-1. It was a single double fault in the seventh game of the second set on break point that turned the match away from her for good.
"My game needs to be more stable and not so up and down," Sharapova said. "Caroline was retrieving a lot of balls and I still had my chances. I was one for eight on break points."
Stat of the day
Sharapova's 36 unforced errors which was good and bad. It was a sign she was forcing the action but also a sign she sometimes forced it too much.
Quote of the day
Wozniacki, who was asked whether her Stella McCartney-designed dress was too short: "I think it's nice. I definitely am sure I'll get a lot of male fans now."
Tuesday's featured matches
At 10 a.m. PDT, on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 25th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland against 20th-seeded Sam Querrey followed by sixth-seeded and French Open champion Francesca Schiavone against third-seeded Venus Williams; at 4 p.m., defending champion and second-seeded Kim Clijsters vs. fifth-seeded Samantha Stosur; top-seeded Rafael Nadal vs. 23rd-seeded Feliciano Lopez.