NEW YORK, September 6: Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina defeated two-time major winner Simona Halep at the US Open on Sunday, advancing to her eighth Grand Slam quarter-final.
Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Svitolina, coming off a WTA title in Chicago, stretched her win streak to nine matches by dispatching the Romanian 12th seed 6-3, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Definitely was a great match,” Svitolina said. “I was really excited. I know how big a fighter is Simona. I had to bring my best game. For sure I’m happy with the win.”
Svitolina, who hasn’t dropped a set this week, made her deepest Slam runs to the 2019 US Open and Wimbledon semi-finals.
Svitolina will next play either German 16th seed Angelique Kerber, whose three Grand Slam titles include the 2016 US Open, or 18-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez, who ousted 2020 champion Naomi Osaka.
Seven of the top nine women’s seeds reached the last 16 with Osaka and top-ranked Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty exiting early.
After an exchange of early breaks, Svitolina broke on an errant backhand in the eighth game and held to claim the opening set after 34 minutes.
Former world number one Halep, the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion, netted a backhand to give Svitolina a break for a 2-1 edge but broke back in the next game with a backhand cross-court winner.
Svitolina, a week shy of her 27th birthday, broke to lead 4-3 when Halep netted a backhand, held to 5-3 and broke again for the victory after 76 minutes when Halep netted a backhand.
“Definitely I have goosebumps right now,” Svitolina said.
Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev will face British 24th seed Daniel Evans for a quarter-final berth.
Medvedev, the 2021 Australian Open and 2019 US Open runner-up, has not dropped a set in New York while Evans has matched his best Grand Slam run from the 2017 Australian Open.
With only nine seeds among the men’s last 16, it’s the fewest seeds to advance so far at a Slam since nine at Wimbledon in 2013 and at a US Open since eight in 2005.
Argentine 11th seed Diego Schwartzman faced 117th-ranked Dutch qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp, a US Open debutante in his deepest Grand Slam run, for a quarter-final berth.
Van de Zandschulp would be the first Dutchman in a Slam quarter-final since 2004 at Wimbledon and at the US Open since 2003.
He would also match the best showing by any US Open qualifier, last-eight runs by Frenchman Nicolas Escude in 1999 and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in 2008.
Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who upset Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, will face 141st-ranked German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in a later match.
Alcaraz or Gojowczyk will have a quarter-final against either Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or American Frances Tiafoe, with one of the four assured of playing his first Grand Slam semi-final.
Alcaraz would be the youngest US Open men’s quarter-finalist since Brazilian Thomaz Koch in 1963.
Second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who made a Slam-best run to July’s Wimbledon semi-finals, will meet Belgian 15th seed Elise Mertens in a later match. Mertens seeks a third straight US Open quarter-final.
Czech eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova, the reigning French Open champion, will play Spanish ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion, in the first Grand Slam meeting of top-10 WTA players since last year’s Australian Open.
The US Open is the only Slam where Muguruza has failed to reach the quarter-finals.
Aryna Sabalenka defeats Elise Mertens to enter her first US Open quarterfinal
World number two Aryna Sabalenka overcame early mistakes to advance past Belgian Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday, reaching the US Open quarterfinal round for the first time.
Up an early break, the Belarusian appeared to lose one of her most reliable weapons – her power serve – as she committed three double faults in the third game to help 15th-seeded Mertens level the score 2-2.
She ended the set with eight double faults and 15 unforced errors but managed to convert a break point in the final game on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Sabalenka cleaned up her act with just six unforced errors in the second half of the match, fending off the only break point opportunity against her as she put up 13 winners.
The Wimbledon semifinalist, who won titles in Madrid and Abu Dhabi this year, conceded after the match that she “was struggling” with a few elements of her game and gave credit to Mertens.
“It’s always tough matches against her,” said Sabalenka. (AFP/Agencies)