Second seed Ashleigh Barty and third seed Karolina Pliskova both fell in the fourth round of the US Open early on Sunday, while eighth seed Serena Williams overcame a nasty ankle roll to reach the 52nd major quarterfinal in her career.
Entering today’s encounter with an overwhelming 15-1 win-loss record against Chinese players, French Open champion Barty was out of sorts throughout her match-up with 18th-seeded Wang Qiang, but especially on the big points, failing to convert all nine of her break chances and hitting 39 unforced errors as the Chinese player made her first Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 6-2 6-4 victory.
Wang Qiang’s next opponent will be Serena Williams, who beat Croatian seed No.22 Petra Martic 6-3 6-4. In the second set, the American badly rolled her ankle while volleying, but the medical team promptly compressed it and the tennis legend returned to the court to finish the match in dominant fashion.
This is Serena’s 99th career victory at the US Open — a personal best win total record for her across the Slams, bettering her success at Wimbledon. A quarterfinal win would consequently put her at the centenial mark of 100 match wins at Flushing Meadows. Just one win off tying the all-time US Open wins record held by Chris Evert (101).
Seed No.16 Johanna Konta fought back from a set and a break down to beat Karolina Pliskova 6-7(1) 6-3 7-5 and advance to her third straight Grand Slam quarterfinal. Sixteen aces and 77% of points won on first serve couldn’t help Pliskova win the match, as the Czech outweighed those positive stats by nine double faults and just 23% winning percentage on second serve (in the entire match she won a total of just seven points on her second serve).
No.1 ranking watch
At the beginning of the tournament, four players were in contention for the No.1 ranking: Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova. Of the four ladies, only defending champion Osaka is still alive in the draw, but in order to maintain her current top ranking, she has to go all the way to the champion’s trophy, otherwise, Barty will dethrone her again.