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US Open: Sharapova outplays Ostapenko, Kerber and Kvitova ousted

first_imgMaria Sharapova continued to power through deep into the US Open as she outclassed 10th seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday and further improved her record under the Arthur Ashe Stadium floodlights to 22-0.Sharapova undeniably loves the big stage of New York even though the first set of the match against Ostapenko was of poor quality with four breaks of serve.Ostapenko, who has been leading the double faults’ charts at this year’s final Grand Slam, made three faults in her opening serve itself. However, Sharapova failed to make the best of it and could not convert any of her five break points.Ostapenko though kept being generous to Sharapova and eventually the Russia did cash on three of her 11 break point opportunities to take the first [email protected] defeated No. 10 seed Jelena Ostapenko to reach the second week of the @usopen for the second-straight year.Watch the highlights here –> https://t.co/WLJZmJlEcr pic.twitter.com/MqdpVPGlptWTA (@WTA) September 2, 2018The nightmare serving continued into the second set with four consecutive breaks of serve before Sharapova finally managed a hold for 3-2.Ostapenko, however, would not manage to hold her serve at any point in the set and Sharapova broke the 10th seed twice more to clinch the victory.The 31-year-old will meet Carla Suarez Navarro in the last 16 after the Spaniard upset French sixth seed Caroline Garcia 5-7 6-4 7-6(4).”It’s the energy you get, no doubt I feed off this energy,” said Sharapova, the 2006 US Open champion.advertisementNew York City. Under the s!!! #USOpen Round 4!!! pic.twitter.com/njs2G55XSIMaria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) September 2, 2018″It’s inspiring to play on this court in front of this crowd.”SABALENKA OVERPOWERS KVITOVAFifth seed Petra Kvitova became the latest big name in the women’s draw to crash out of the US Open when she lost to Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-1 at the Louis Armstrong Stadium on [email protected]’s run continues!Stuns Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1 at the @usopen —> https://t.co/HP9DTfJbHO pic.twitter.com/Ww0Xe8u2P2WTA (@WTA) September 2, 2018The exit of the Czech, who reached last year’s quarter-finals, leaves only three of the top 10 women’s players in the running, with defending champion and world number three Sloane Stephens the highest ranked player left in the draw.Kvitova beat Sabalenka in three sets at the Miami Open earlier this year but the often error-prone 20-year-old Belarusian showed she had tightened up her game considerably since that encounter.Sabalenka made 15 unforced errors to Kvitova’s 35 and won 80 percent of her first serves as she wrapped up the victory in one hour and 25 minutes.She overpowered the twice Wimbledon champion from the back of the court too, winning 49 points from the baseline compared to Kvitova’s 27.”I really like to play on the big stages,” Sabalenka said courtside.”I really like to feel the support of the people. I didn’t expect anything, I just went on the court and tried for every point and now I’m so happy.”I think I put more balls in (than I did in Miami). It’s enough.”Kvitova’s defeat capped a bad day for the top seeds at Flushing Meadows with fourth seed Angelique Kerber, sixth seed Caroline Garcia of France and 10th seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko all failing to progress.The quartet’s exit follows that of top seed Simona Halep in the first round and second seed Caroline Wozniacki in round two.There is still plenty of bite left in draw, however, with six-times champion Serena Williams firing on all cylinders and set to take on Halep’s vanquisher, unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi, in the last 16 on Sunday.CIBULKOVA UPSETS KERBER TO REACH FOURTH ROUNDFourth seed Angelique Kerber’s bid for consecutive Grand Slam titles ended when 29th seed Dominika Cibulkova defeated the German 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the US Open third round on Saturday.Momentum shifted firmly in feisty Cibulkovas favour in the third set when she broke to take a 4-2 lead and held for 5-2.The Slovakian fell to the ground and let out a scream when Kerber sent a backhand wide to end a quality match between two of the games premier counter-punchers.The speedy 5 foot 3 inch Cibulkova was strongest in the longer rallies, nimbly moving across the court to extend points during the two-hour 13 minute affair at Louis Armstrong Stadium.The pair split sets in an evenly matched fight and began the third with routine holds but Cibulkova drew first blood by breaking Kerber’s serve to take a 3-1 lead.advertisementAn energised Kerber struck back to break in the next game and close the gap but the comeback was short-lived as Cibulkova broke again and comfortably held for the rest of the match.”I had my chances, but I couldn’t take them, especially in the third set,” Kerber told reporters. “She hit the balls really well and played the winners when she had to. I think that was the difference in the match today.”Cibulkova said that after losing to Kerber twice this year, in June at the Eastborne International and in January at the Sydney International, she adjusted her approach to the match.”We had to change something, and I think we had the great tactic with my coach, and I was able to do it,” Cibulkova told reporters. “Of course, I was aggressive going for my forehand, going for my shots. Just overall everything was working.”Cibulkova faces last year’s US Open runner-up, American Madison Keys, in the fourth round. Keys leads Cibulkova 4-0 in head-to-head meetings.Kerber, who won Wimbledon in July, was the latest favourite to be knocked out of the women’s singles at Flushing Meadows after top seed Simona Halep and second seed Caroline Wozniacki.OSAKA ROLLS SASNOVICH WITH DOUBLE BAGELA ruthless Naomi Osaka crushed Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-0, 6-0 to reach the fourth round of the US Open for the first time on [email protected]_Osaka_ will make her debut in the second week of the @usopen following a straight-sets win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich –> https://t.co/J8qg6IkNRw pic.twitter.com/RA9XgBmwnrWTA (@WTA) September 1, 2018The 20-year-old Indian Wells champion put on a near-flawless display as she fired four aces and 12 winners to dispatch the Belarusian in 50 blistering minutes.Osaka committed just three unforced errors as she notched up her third successive straight sets win, dropping only seven games in total during her run to the second week of the hardcourt major.The 20th seed will look to continue her winning ways when she plays either fifth seed Petra Kvitova or Aryna Sabalenka for a place in the quarter-finals.VONDROUSOVA STUNS BERTENS TO ADVANCE INTO FOURTH ROUNDCzech teenager Marketa Vondrousova upset Dutch 13th seed Kiki Bertens 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(1) to reach the fourth round of the US Open on Saturday, becoming the youngest woman remaining in the main draw.Bertens had been expected to win her ninth match in a row after capturing the Cincinnati Masters title two weeks ago, a run that included victories over the world’s top two players Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep, but the 103rd-ranked Vondrousova refused to get overawed by the occasion.The left-handed Vondrousova broke Bertens four times and was dominant in the short rallies, winning 66 to Berten’s 44.The 19-year-old ultimately trampled over Bertens in the third-set tiebreak as the Dutch self destructed by producing four successive unforced errors.”It was so, so tough for me,” Vondrousova said after reaching the fourth round of a major for the first time. “I just stayed calm.”advertisementVondrousova was one of a record six Czech women to have reached the third round of this year’s US Open.Eighth seed Karolina Pliskova is already through to the last 16 and fifth seed Petra Kvitova will also be hoping to increase Czech representation in the fourth round when she faces Aryna Sabalenka later on day six of the championships.A year after bowing out in the opening round on her Flushing Meadows debut, Vondrousova appears more at ease on the Grand Slam stage.”I think I’m mentally better. I’m a year older, that’s maybe the thing,” Vondrousova, who will next face Ukrainian Lesla Tsurenko, said.”It was very close match this year, so I think I’m just mentally better.”KEYS OVERCOMES SLUGGISH STARTHard-hitting American Madison Keys overcame a slow start to beat Aleksandra Krunic 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the US Open third round on Saturday and move a step closer to a return trip to the [email protected]_Keys KOs Krunic, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, in the @usopen third round!Awaits the winner of Kerber/Cibulkova in the Round of 16–> https://t.co/B5QD3o3J1A pic.twitter.com/F3koBQqCxaWTA (@WTA) September 1, 2018Keys, who lost to compatriot Sloane Stephens in last year’s final, overpowered the defensive-minded Krunic as the Serb struggled to handle the 14th seed’s punishing groundstrokes and powerful serve on a sunny day at Arthur Ashe Stadium.Krunic was the sharper of the pair at the outset, breaking Keys in the opening game and holding serve the rest of the way to capture the first set and put the partisan New York crowd on edge.But Keys, 23, came out more aggressively in the second set, breaking Krunic in the second game and racing to a 3-0 lead that she would not relinquish as errors began to pile up for the 25-year-old.The service games of both players deserted them in the third as the set started with five straight breaks that put Keys ahead 3-2.The American finally held serve to take a 4-2 lead and hit her 43rd winner on match point to advance to a fourth-round meeting with either fourth seed Angelique Kerber or 29th seed Dominika Cibulkova.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more