Swiatek Ruthless, Gauff Rallies Past Mertens, Wozniacki Wins, Rybakina Out; Pegula, Sabalenka Sat.
For the second time at night, Coco Gauff had to rally from a set down to stay in her home US Open. The teenager found herself on the wrong end of the first set but then saved break points early in the second to spark a dominant finish in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Elise Mertens.
The 27-year-old Mertens got down early herself but then played some exception tennis in all areas to grab the opener. Mertens would hold to start the second but then failed to convert five break points for 2-0, and Gauff used that save to change the momentum.
The American ran off the last 10 games to improve to 14-1 under new coach Brad Gilbert.
“When you lose the first set, you have to show that you have to leave that energy in the first set,” Gauff said. “The three setters show that I’m not going down without a fight.
“She was playing a little bit more aggressive than the last time I played her,” Gauff added. “Also I had some areas where I was not missing by a lot, it was a little bit on balls that I probably could have ended the point on.”
Gauff will now face former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. The 33-year-old 2-time US Open finalist continued her comeback Slam authoring her own rally to beat Jennifer Brady 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Brady, a former semifinalist in New York, led with a set serving 2-0, 40-15 when things fell apart. Wozniacki went into lockdown and Brady’s backhand brokedown. Wozniacki ran off 11 straight games to go up 5-0 in the third.
Wozniacki reaches her first US Open fourth round since 2016.
“I played really, really well the last set and a half,” Wozniacki said court. “It’s such an honor to be here.”
Earlier, Iga Swiatek crushed her good friend Kaja Juvan 6-0, 6-1 in just 49 minutes. Juvan mustered just 15 total points. Swiatek wins her 10th straight at the US Open and now faces Jelena Ostapenko.
“My level was high, and I didn’t make a lot of unforced errors,” Swiatek said to the WTA. “I’m happy with my performance and overall with the way I started, and then just kind of disciplined and didn’t change my level till the end of the match.
“I really just wanted to focus on myself, and I think also because I knew that it’s going to be a little bit harder for me to focus because she is my best friend, I was actually more focused than usual. I’m happy that I could do that and I was fully professional.”
Ostapenko needed three to advance past Bernarda Pera in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Ostapenko has never lost to Swiatek leading 3-0.
Also, No. 10 Karolina Muchova eased past Taylor Townsend in straights 7-6, 6-3 and Xinyu Wang got the better of Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
And the night ended for the women with Sorana Cirstea pulling off a big upset taking down Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4.
On Saturday, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka squares off against Clara Burel who has some big upsets in New York beating Elena Rybakina this year and Karolina Pliskova this week.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula collides No. 26 Elina Svitolina. Pegula is up on Svitolina 3-1 in their tour-level meetings winning in three over the summer in D.C.
No. 5 Ons Jabeur meets No. 31 Marie Bouzkova, Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova takes on No. 22 Ekaterina Alexandrova and No. 14 Liudmila Samsonova draws No. 17 Madison Keys.
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