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US Open: Osaka, Kvitova reach last 16

US Open: Osaka, Kvitova reach last 16
Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova
New York, Sep 5 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/5/2020 9:01:00 AM IST

Former champion Naomi Osaka survived a third-round scare before grinding out a 6-3 6-7(4) 6-2 victory over fearless Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk to reach the last 16 of the U.S. Open on Friday.

The Japanese fourth seed initially looked like she would enjoy a routine day on the court but was forced to dig deep to secure victory after two hours and 33 minutes against an 18-year-old making her U.S. Open main draw debut.

After Osaka had breezed through the first set, a match filled with shifts in momentum suddenly turned in Kostyuk’s favour as she broke her opponent for the first time to pull ahead 4-3.

Kostyuk consolidated the break but dropped the next three games and had to hold serve to force the tiebreak. She dropped the first two points but won seven of the next nine to close out the set, leaving Osaka to fling her racquet down in frustration.

After Kostyuk went ahead 2-1 in the final set, the Ukrainian had her right ankle taped for the second time in the match.

Osaka then leaned on her experience, digging deep to save five break points in a 14-point game to draw level and from there won 16 of the next 19 points to close out the victory.

Also, former champion Angelique Kerber cruised into the fourth round with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 victory over 20-year-old American Ann Li.

Germany’s Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion who won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2016, converted four break points and is yet to drop a set at the tournament while Li, ranked 128 in the world, was let down by 28 unforced errors.

The only real moment of concern for Kerber came late in the second set when she appeared to hurt her ankle chasing a wide shot, after which the 32-year-old walked gingerly between points.

But she held serve for a 5-4 lead and broke the American in the final game to move into the fourth round for the first time since her title win.

Kerber will next face another American, 28th seed Jennifer Brady, who beat France’s Caroline Garcia, conqueror of top seed Karolina Pliskova in the previous round, 6-3 6-3.

Meanwhile, Czech Petra Kvitova struggled with unforced errors but still had enough weapons to defeat American Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-3.

The two-time Wimbledon champion had 28 unforced errors and five double faults but moved up a gear when it mattered to win her first career meeting with baseline battler Pegula. Sixth seed Kvitova broke the world No. 63 twice in each set and completed the win when Pegula sent a return wide.

The US Open is the only Grand Slam event where Kvitova has failed to reach the semifinals and next up for her will be another American in Shelby Rogers, who earlier advanced with a 6-2 6-4 win against compatriot Madison Brengle.

 

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