American heir to the Williams sisters Madison Keys completed an amazing comeback to set up a first-time meeting with former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s ageing Italian finalist Roberta Vinci refuses to lose, and Angie Kerber kept alive her hopes of overtaking world No. 1 Serena Williams on an eventful Friday in third-round play at the US Open.
The No. 8-seeded Keys trailed 1-5 in the third before battling back to beat touted 18-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3).
“You never gave up on me and really helped me get through,” the 21-year-old Keys told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
The Japanese and U.S. duel citizen Osaka was reduced to tears as she choked down the stretch, at 5-2 stoning an easy critical volley and covering her face to hide her anguish. In the tiebreak it was all Keys who hit 37 winners over the match and dominated on her first serve.
Keys, who has exited the fourth round in her last four majors, will next meet the unseeded former No. 1 Wozniacki in a first-time meeting. The Dane, using the US Open as a springboard to leave behind a terrible year, beat Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-1.
The No. 7-seeded Vinci won a see-saw match against German Carina Witthoeft 6-0, 5-7, 6-3, and will next meet Lesia Tsurenko, who upset No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 13-seeded Johanna Konta, who almost succumbed to the heat in her previous round, bounced back to beat No. 24 Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1.
“[I just need to] take care things of my end and give 100% whenever I step onto the court,” said Konta, who overpowered the Swiss teen on serve and off the ground.
Her next challenge will be unseeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, who beat Kateryna Bondarenko 6-4, 6-1.
In the final night match world No. 2 Angie Kerber kept her hopes alive to overtake Serena Williams for the world No. 1 ranking during this US Open, defeating 17-year-old American wildcard CiCi Bellis 6-1, 6-1.
Bellis was content with keeping the ball in play against Kerber and not going for too much, a strategy that yielded about as much success in the first set as the second.
Kerber in the fourth round will face another fellow Slam winner and a former fellow world No. 2, No. 14-seeded Petra Kvitova who topped No. 22 Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-4.
Kvitova led 4-0 in the second before the wheels came off, holding on to win 6-4.
“I lost my timing and my aggressive plan and I’m glad I found it in the last two games,” the Czech said.
Highlights of Saturday play at Flushing Meadows will be (1) Serena Williams vs. unseeded Swede Johanna Larsson, (5) Simona Halep vs. (31) Timea Babos, (6) Venus Williams vs. (26) Laura Siegemund, and (4) Aggie Radwanska vs. tenacious comer (25) Caroline Garcia.
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