Serena Williams Avenges “Cincy Tennis in New York” Loss to Maria Sakkari by Reaching US Open Quarterfinals
(September 7, 2020) NEW YORK – Serena Williams came back from a break down in the deciding set to beat Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 to reach the US Open quarterfinals on Monday afternoon. It’s the No. 3 seed’s 12th straight appearance in the final eight. It was her 100th win in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Moms” was the word of the day as three mothers reached the quarterfinals, a first for the US Open.
It was a rematch of the quarterfinal match of the Cincinnati event played in New York less than two weeks ago when Williams lost to the woman from Greece, after being a set up serving for the match and she lost in three sets.
This will be Williams’ 56th major quarterfinal.
Williams will play another mom, Tsvetana Pironkova next. The unranked Bulgarian hadn’t played a tournament since Wimbledon 2017 when she went on maternity leave to give birth to her son Alexander in 2018. After failing twice to close out the match in straight sets, she fought off Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 to reach her first final eight at the US Open.
“It was pretty tough that I didn’t close the match in two sets, ” said the Bulgarian. “I realized I have to change something in order to survive this match, and I thought that I would start to play more aggressive so the points could be shorter.
“I managed to do that, and it paid off.”
On her next match against Williams:
“Definitely a tough one. I played against Serena a few times. I haven’t won to today. Playing such a champion, such a legend of the game, it’s tremendous honor, obviously. I’m really looking forward to that match, because I know the feeling is going to be very special.
“Yeah, I will try to do my best, and I can’t wait.”
Add Victoria Azarenka to the trio of mothers in the US Open quarterfinals. In an evening match at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the two-time former finalist rallied past the No. 20 seed Karolina Muchova 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. The Czech Muchova injured her thigh in early part of the second set, which hampered her movement.
“It was a crazy match,” the Belarusian said during her on-court interview.
“She played unbelievably, getting to balls and bringing everything back. I would try coming to the net and bring passing shots where I couldn’t do anything! It was such a great match and of such high quality. I really had to dig in and bring more aggression because she was really feeling the ball well.
“It was really tough, but also so much fun. I hope people had fun watching because I enjoyed playing it tonight.”
“It feels amazing that I can share this moment, and hopefully be a good role model to my son. When you have tough moments in your life, you still persevere with holding your head high and a smile on your face.”
Azarenka is on a nine-match winning streak dating back to the beginning of the Cincinnati tournament that was held on the grounds of the US Open. She won the tournament when finalist Naomi Osaka withdrew from the final with a hamstring injury.
No. 16 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium knocked out No. 2 seed and reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-3. Mertens was almost flawless, making only 7 unforced errors during the match.
Mertens was ecstatic about her match.
“I felt pretty focused today. I was just very focused on my game, not too much on her game. She can hit those balls, very short cross-court angles.
“Yeah, I think I was just mentally prepared for a battle. I think my first serve went pretty well. I think that was the advantage of my game, that I could start with the positive note.
“But, yeah, I think everything kind of worked. Also throughout the whole match I didn’t really drop anything. That’s I think where I’m most pleased at, that I’m stable at every point.
“Also just hit the ball and it went in today, so I’m just happy about my performance.”
“The word ‘confident’ everybody uses a lot. I try to be myself. I try to play the best match I can, try to be the best person I can at that day, player.
“I mean, I feel confident, of course, after winning against such a great player.”
In men’s play, No. 2 Dominic Thiem dismissed No. 15 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 6-1, 6-1 to move into the quarterfinals.
The Austrian was asked about his Canadian opponent’s potential.
“For me, you can see it on the court, the way he plays. First of all, he’s already super good now. Second of all, he has still many, many things to improve. That makes it even more dangerous, I guess, if you have so much potential in almost every stroke.
“I mean, I played a great match today, the best one from my whole America trip. So I’m very happy about that. But doesn’t change my opinion on what Felix is capable of.”
Australia’s Alex de Minaur in in his first major quarterfinal by defeating Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-2 at the US Open. De Minaur rallied from 2-6 down in the first set tiebreak, winning six straight points to win it.
“I’m obviously very happy, : said the Aussie. At the end of the day, this is where I want to be, and this is where I truly believe I belong, second weeks of slams and going deep. I’m happy I’m finally at this stage.
“But nothing changes. Everything stays the same. Now I’ve got just another match awaiting for me. It is obviously the winner of Thiem and Felix. I have played both of them.
“Dominic Thiem, they both actually have immense firepower. So it’s just going to be a match where I’m just going to have to try to stand my ground again, do what I do best, stay solid, and look for any kind of opportunity I can to dictate.
“Look, just happy to be in the next round.”
The 21st seed will play No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem.
Thiem talked about his next opponent,
“Definitely one of the fastest players on tour. I think that he also is moving not only super fast but also very accurate. That’s what makes it even better, his movement.
“Played him twice. Kind of these two matches were before he really had his breakthrough. He improved massively in especially last one and a half, two years I would say. So I’m looking forward to that one.
“Well, every opponent of course is really, really great player in the last eight. Now try to enjoy this great win what I had today for some hours, then full focus on the next one.”
Last year’s US Open finalist, Daniil Medvedev had an emphatic a 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 win over American Frances Tiafoe in one hour and 38 minutes. Medvedev has not dropped a set in the tournament.
Medvedev will be taking on fellow Russian and No. 10 seed Andrey Rublev in his next match. Rublev avenged a loss from last year’s US Open to No. 6 Matteo Berrettini 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Rublev talked about playing his countryman in their junior days:
“Both of us were crazy on court, Destroying the racquets, complaining…
“Yeah, what I remember from him, he was always one of the biggest fighter that I ever saw in my life since he was, I don’t know, seven years old. He could play lobs maybe hours just to win. I don’t know. I remember we had few battles when we were completely kids.”