Two unheralded Americans got the better of their more decorated lefty counterparts on Louis Armstrong at the US Open on Sunday.
Jennifer Brady went to 9-1 in the last month by overpowering 2016 US Open champion Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4. Behind her powerful forehand, Brady quickly jumped to a set lead and appeared to be in position to run away with the match. But Kerber fought back with her own forehand and quickness, though she fell short in the end. The 25-year-old Brady reaches her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal.
“For me, physically and mentally, I think I have improved on both aspects,” Brady said. “I have gotten a lot fitter. I’m able to, you know, maintain my intensity from the beginning of the match all the way until the end.
“Also, you know, going out there, I think, you know, having that physicality that I have, the improvement of my fitness I also have, that brings also the improvement of the mental side, as well, knowing that I can play my game at a high level from, you know, the very first point all the way until the end without a dip in my physical abilities.”
Later, Shelby Rogers brushed off four match points to stun 2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(6). Kvitova served 6-5 in the final set breaker only to double fault. Rogers too the last two points to reach her first US Open quarterfinal.
“It feels amazing,” the 27-year-old Rogers said. “Day 72 in the bubble. It’s been a long time here in New York. I’m happy to be sticking around for some more.
“The tiebreaker, the whole match actually, was a little bit of a roller coaster for both of us. The first set, you know, a tiebreak. She upped her level a little bit in the second there. I was up a break in the third, she breaks back. She’s just hitting missiles. She served unbelievable.
“To get that double-fault there in the breaker, a little luck was on my side today I think. I just kept trying to hang in there and defend her balls, take care of my serve there in the third after I got broken.”
A year ago Rogers had to retire in the first round of qualies. Now she’s in the quarterfinals against either Naomi Osaka who dismissed Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-4.
Yulia Putintseva opened the day on Ashe making the most of her debut on the biggest court in the world. The spunky Kazakh took a tight one with Petra Martic 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to advance to her first US Open quarterfinal. She beat Brady twice in 2018.
“She’s a really good player, even though we played, like, a long time ago, I think two, three years ago, she was already, like, having a good game style, you know, moving a lot and taking forehand, big serve,” Putintseva said.
“I think I just need to focus on my game and prepare for a good match.”
Serena Williams returns Monday at noon for a big showdown against Greek star Maria Sakkari. Almost two weeks ago it was Sakkari rallying to stun Serena in three sets. No Serena will seek revenge for the loss.
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