Serena Williams overcame a second set wobble to fight her way into the quarter-finals of the US Open in a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win against Maria Sakkari in New York late last night.
Sakkari, the 15th seed, had claimed Williams’ scalp at the Western & Southern Open last month in similar circumstance, and in their encounter at Arthur Ashe, she came back strongly in the second set, to force a decider, before breaking Williams’ first service game in the third. Williams’ though rallied to break back before taking control of the match to register her 100th win on the US Open show court — the first person to do so in history.
"She's such a good competitor. It was a really intense match," Williams said post match complementing Sakkari’s aggressive gameplan. "I felt like she almost played better today. I was a little fatigued last time and had some cramps. Just felt like I was able to compete longer."
Also Read | Gold Medal, Cold Reality: The Famed, Forsaken & Forlorn Heroes of Indian Football
Williams who last won a Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in 2017 will face surprise entrant, Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarters. Pironkova, returning after a long time on the sidelines after becoming a mother, has taken the tournament by storm eliminating many seeds on her way to the quarters.
Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov suffered a straight sets 5-7, 5-7 defeat against Netherland’s Jean-Julien Rojer and Romania's Horia Tecau in the quarter finals in New York.
Bopanna was the only Indian left in the tournament following the exit of Sumit Nagal and Divij Sharan (both of whom lost in the second rounds of the singles and doubles respectively).
While Bopanna’s Grand Slam is over, Shapovalov, seeded 12th in the singles, will face Pablo Carreno-Busta in the quarter-finals tomorrow.
Mertens Enters Last Eight
Elise Mertens made it to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the third time in her career after a 6-3, 6-3 win over the American second seed Sofia Kenin on Monday.
Mertens beat Kenin for the first time in three encounters, sticking strictly to the baseline and forcing the American to make errors and be aggressor for much of the match.
Mertens and Kenin both came into this matchup yet to drop a set at the tournament, and it was the Belgian who walked away with that record intact. Kenin, the Australian Open champion was visibly more nervous through the match up, double faulting in the very first game, and then getting frustrated with her play through the match.
Also Read | PUBGM Ban Set to Dent Growth Rate of eSports in India
“It’s always good to look at matches against someone you lose to because you have to be better,” Mertens said after the match. “Actually I watched a match that I lost against her last time.”
“I think my first serve went pretty well. Also throughout the whole match I didn’t really drop anything. That’s I think where I’m most pleased at, that I’m stable at every point,” she added. Mertens will face former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals.
Medvedev Demolishes Tiafoe
Daniil Medvedev’s first Grand Slam title aspirations have stayed on course with a dominant 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 win over Frances Tiafoe. The win puts the Russian in the quarterfinals where he will face compatriot Andrey Rublev.
Medvedev, the third seed, lost to Rafael Nadal in an incredible match last year, rallying from two sets down to force a decider in a final for the ages. And true to form he hasn’t lost his love for the tournament this year either, marked out as one of the favourites following Novak Djokovic’s ouster from the tournament.
Medvedev remains the only player in the men’s draw yet to drop a set in the tournament, and despite struggling to close out the opening set on serve, breezed through Tiafoe comfortably.
“I think it was maybe my best match (of the tournament),” he said to ESPN. “It’s always better to start the tournament a little bit rusty and then get better.”
Djokovic Urges Fans Not to Troll Judge
Novak Djokovic has asked for fans to show compassion to the line judge he struck in the throat with a ball at the US Open after the official faced abuse on social media.
Following Djokovic’s default, Serbian media carried the official’s Instagram handle in reports and a lot of Djokovic fans took to the platform hurl abuse at her.
“Shame on you. Old lady full of evil,” read one of the messages on her Instagram account, others accused her of exaggerating and faking the injury and “bad acting.”
Djokovic took to Twitter seeking compassion for the line judge and thankful to the ones who left positive messages of support for him.
“Please also remember the linesperson that was hit by the ball last night needs our community’s support too. She’s done nothing wrong at all. I ask you to stay especially supportive and caring to her during this time,” his statement read. “From these moments, we grow stronger and we rise above. Sharing love with everyone. Europe here I come.”
Djokovic has restricted his comments to social media and has not offered a public apology or explanation in front of the media yet. He will travel to Europe now for the clay season and will be playing at Roland GArros later this month. The clay court Grand Slam though has suffered its first casualty, with defending champion Ashleigh Barty, withdrawing from the tournament, citing health concerns and a lack of preparation.
Read more sports stories from Newsclick