Serena in US Open quarters

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Sep 2018 11:45:53


 

 

NEW YORK

SIX-TIME champion Serena Williams survived a spirited challenge from unseeded Kaia Kanepi to triumph 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 on Sunday and reach the quarter-finals of the US Open.


The 23-time Grand Slam champion looked set to romp home when she seized the first set from Kanepi in just 18 minutes.


But the hard-hitting Estonian, who took out world number one Simona Halep in the first round, settled down in the second set, shaking off the partisan crowd in a jammed Arthur Ashe Stadium to push Williams the rest of the way. “It wasn’t an easy match at all,” said Williams, who let out what she called a “Serena scream” after ripping a backhand cross court to hold serve in the opening game of the third set.


“Winning a big game and a very important game and a really tight game, I think it was just a relief,” said Williams, who took control with a break in the next game and maintained that advantage until she fired a forehand winner on her first match point.


Williams finished with 18 aces and 47 total winners. A couple of loose points gifted Kanepi a break in the first game of the second set, however, and she couldn’t get back on terms.


Williams double-faulted on break point to send Kanepi up 5-2. The American would win the next two games, but she couldn’t find another break and after fighting off two set points saw Kanepi knot the match on her third chance. “She’s had a lot of big wins in her career. I was just happy to get through it to be honest,” Williams said. Williams booked a quarter-final date with Karolina Pliskova, the eighth-seeded Czech who beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-4.


Nadal, Del Potro in last-eight
DEFENDING champion Rafael Nadal on Sunday reached the US Open quarter-finals for the eighth time where he will face Dominic Thiem, one of only three men to defeat him in 2018.


World number one Nadal saw off a battling Nikoloz Basilashvili, the first Georgian in a fourth round in New York, 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4.


“It’s a big victory for me,” said the 32-year-old Nadal, the champion in 2010, 2013 and 2017.


“He was hitting the ball very strong and when I thought I was in control of the points, he always came back with strong shots.” It was world number 37 Basilashvili’s strength, however, which proved his undoing. His 56 winners were erased by 59 unforced errors, three times as many as Nadal.


Elsewhere, Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion, beat Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to make the last-eight for a third successive year.


The third seeded Argentine will next face John Isner, the last American man standing, who defeated Milos Raonic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, taking his tournament aces total past the 100-mark.


Thiem, who beat Nadal on clay in Madrid in the run-up to Paris, booked his place in the quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win over 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson.


The ninth-seeded Austrian’s three other appearances in the last-eight of a Slam were all on Paris clay in 2016, 2017 and 2018.