Naomi Osaka proved her championship metal saving five break points in the third set against Marta Kostyuk. The effort refocused the 2018 champion and spurred her to win the last gave games and take the match of the teen 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 in the first match of the day on Ashe.
The match was a fight from the start with the young teen swinging away on Osaka serves. Kostyuk couldn’t hold a break lead in the second, but came from a mini-break down in the decider.
Then, in a lengthy fourth game, Osaka dug out of a 0-40 hole and saved two more break points. The 18-year-old couldn’t recover from the missed opportunity,
“My biggest takeaway from her game is that she didn’t back down from me or from the speed of my ball, which for someone that young is kind of amazing,” Osaka said. “The first set went my way, and then she could have faded in the second set. Of course in the third set towards the end I feel like physically I was better, and I was, of course, more experienced. But, yeah, I feel like she’s definitely going to be dangerous.
Osaka also talked about avoiding going down 3-1 in the third.
“I feel like that game was very important,” said Osaka. “Honestly, I’m not sure how it would have went if she won it and I would have had to break her back, but thankfully I don’t have to think about it too much.”
Osaka will now face Anett Kontaveit on Sunday. The Estonian returned to the US Open fourth round after cruising past Magda Linette 6-3, 6-3.
Former champion Angelique Kerber won her third straight set match of the event easing past Ann Li 6-4, 6-3. The 2016 winner will now meet a red-hot Jennifer Brady who continued her torrid run blowing past Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-3.
“Obviously she’s a great competitor, great player,” Brady said of the German. “Different, lefty, you know, so that’s something different that, you know, against the other opponents that I have played.
“I’m expecting it to be a very tough match. I’m just going to go out there and think the same thought I have thought for every other match, just believe in myself, compete, and just play for every point.”
Yulia Putintseva and French Open quarterfinalist Petra Martic advanced to the fourth round.
And Shelby Rogers won a battle of Americans with Madison Brengle. She now meet Petra Kvitova who upended Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4.
Caty McNally, Elise Mertens and Iga Swiatek also finished off their postponed second round matches.
Tomorrow, in a battle of former champions, Serena Williams faces Sloane Stephens for the first time in five years. Stephens beat Serena back at the 2013 Australian Open, but Serena has taken five of six.
“She’s a great competitor,” Serena said of Stephens on Thursday. “It’s an incredibly interesting match, because she’s actually a US Open champion. She’s a great player. You can’t win a Grand Slam and not be really, really, really, really, really good.
“Wow, it’s a lot. I have a lot of things that I need to go home and focus on and do to get ready for that.”
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