Serena Williams and Ash Barty both moved comfortably into the fourth round Friday on a warm day at the US Open.
After a 3-set test Wednesday against Caty McNally, Serena had no trouble this afternoon dismissing Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 in just 74 minutes.
“Like I said on the court, I don’t know how I would grade my performance. Just gotta keep playing and believing,” Serena said.
Serena advances to her 18th career US Open fourth round where she will now meet French Open quarterfinalist Petra Martic who reached this stage for a first time after eliminating 218 semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-3.
Barty had a little tough time than Serena but also advanced in straight sets beating Greek #1 Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3. It was the Australian’s second win in as many events over Sakkari.
“I think overall today there were parts of the match I was really happy with,” Barty said. “I feel like a few of the things that I’ve been lacking over the last month kind of came together a little bit today. I felt like I served a lot better, controlled the ball off the first strike more often than not. In the bigger moments, I felt like there was some better stuff there.”
Next for the world No. 2 is a meeting with Qiang Wang who was a winner over French youngster Fiona Ferro.
“Obviously very tough competitor, moves extremely well,” Barty said of Wang. “When the ball is in her strike zone, she can go both ways, cross and line off both wings. I think it’s going to be an incredibly physical match, a match where I need to make sure that I serve well and bring variety in as much as I can.”
In the evening, Elina Svitolina pounded 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-0 to reach her third straight US Open fourth round.
Svitolina, who made the Wimbledon semifinalist, will now take on former finalist Madison Keys. Keys fought off some sickness and the dangerous Sofia Kenin in a tough 6-3, 7-5.
Keys has won 2 of 3 against the Ukrainian. Neither player has dropped a set.
In the day’s only 3-set match, Karolina Pliskova kept her hopes alive of reaching another final by taking down Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. She’ll now face Brit Johanna Konta who was a winner over Shuai Zhang 6-2, 6-3.
On a big Saturday, teens takes center stage as Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff make their Ashe debuts.
Just 19, Andreescu takes her hot hand against former finalist and No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. In the evening, it’s the blockbuster showdown between defending champion Naomi Osaka against Gauff who at 15 is already the youngest to make the third round at the US Open in 23 years since Anna Kournikova in 1996.
But can Gauff take it one set further?
“Obviously she’s an amazing player,” Gauff said of Osaka. “She’s defending champion. She’s won two slams. She’s No. 1. She’s only 21. We’re both pretty young. But I’m a little bit newer to the game. So I’m just curious to see how my game matches up against her. Obviously I want to win.
I just want to enjoy it, have fun, enjoy the battle. We’ll see how it goes.”
Former junior star Taylor Townsend returns after her stunning win over Simona Halep. She’ll now go from underdog to favorite against another Romanian, veteran Sorana Cirstea.
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