Upsets continued to hit the US Open women’s draw. After a very in-form first two rounds, the last three days have seem former Slam winners fall by the wayside after having control of the match. Today, Angelique Kerber’s time was up. The 2016 US Open champion overcame a break to take the opener then go up 3-1 in the second on 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez.
But the Canadian teen kept battling and spurred on by the raucous crowd, Fernandez grabbed the second set breaker then ran away with the third winning the last five games for a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 win on court Louis Armstrong.
“The match was incredible,” Fernandez said. “I was playing well in the first set. Unfortunately I did a few mistakes. Her, as a great player, great champion, she noticed and she took advantage of it. I was able to refocus and fight back for the second.
“In the third, I was just enjoying every moment of it. Honestly, the crowd has been amazing, so thanks to them I was able to win.”
Fernandez has now defeated two former champions in consecutive matches, and doing so from the brink of defeat.
“I just approached the match the same. They are another player, they are great champions, I’m just going to go out there and fight for every point,” she said. “Then after the match, I was just super, super happy, and I’m glad I’m able to celebrate it with the crowd. I’m glad I can celebrate it with my family later tonight.”
Kerber credited the youngster for taking the match.
“I think it was a tough one,” Kerber said. “Gave everything I had today. She played I think unbelievable match, especially in the third set, also in the second.
“I think she played also one of her best matches in her career, and she had nothing to lose. She went out there, she played her tennis. She really is going for her winners, and, yeah, I think at the end it was just two, three points which decide the match. She took it in her hands.”
The lefty will now face a very hot-handed Elina Svitolina. The Ukrainian returned to the quarterfinals after overwhelming former No. 1 Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3.
Svitolina has now won her last nine matches and hasn’t dropped a set at the US Open so far.
“Right now I’m feeling good,” Svitolina said. “I think I’m playing really aggressive right now. I think the most aggressive I’ve ever been, making lots of winners, serving really good. I want to keep this going, feeling that I’m in a good mind. Yeah, ready for my next match. I’m just looking right now for my next challenge.”
No. 2 seed and new tournament favorite Aryna Sabalenka cruised past her good friend and former doubles partner Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-1.
“It’s a tough match and I’m really happy that I found a way through this one because some things didn’t work well today for me, but I’m really happy that I could find a way to get this win,” Sabalenka said.
On Tuesday in her first US Open quarterfinal, Sabalenka will face the winner of the late match between French Open winners Barbora Krejcikova and Garbine Muguruza.
Tomorrow, 18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu will try and join teens Lelyah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz in the final eight. She’ll meet Shelby Rogers who stunned No. 1 Ash Barty from 502 down in the third.
Gold medalist and former US Open semifinalist Belinda Bencic battles Iga Swiatek.
Bianca Andreescu, the lone former US Open champion remaining, meets Maria Sakkari and Karolina Pliskova faces Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a match between the last two Grand Slam finalists.
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