US Open: Iga Swiatek marks new high at Flushing Meadows; reaches last-8

Jessica Pegula, Aryna Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova also won their respective pre-quarters.

World no. 1 Iga Swiatek reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time in her career on Monday. The top-seeded Pole came from a set down in her fourth-round clash against Germany’s Jule Niemeier, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 in two hours and 23 minutes.

In the opening set, Niemeier imposed herself on Swiatek. She hit more than twice as many winners as her higher-ranked opponent – nine to the latter’s four – and secured two breaks of serve. In comparison, she didn’t face any break point.

In the second set, there were three sets of breaks exchanged before Swiatek pocketed a fourth break point to level the match. The deciding set veered completely away from Niemeier as Swiatek finally came to her own in the match.

The two-time French Open champion won 75% of her first-serve and 71% of her second-serve points in the final set. She also won 57% and 83% points on first-serve and second-serve return, respectively. Swiatek faced three break points but saved all while securing three breaks on Niemeier’s serve.

US Open: Americans’ mixed day

Looking to reach the semi-finals, Swiatek will play eighth seed Jessica Pegula. The American came through against the 21st-seeded Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2 in 73 minutes in their fourth-round meeting.

Pegula had just seven winners to Kvitova’s massive 18. But where the Czech had 24 unforced errors, Pegula’s 13 helped her get ahead in the clash. Kvitova’s compatriot, Karolina Pliskova, however, fared better in her round-of-16 match against Victoria Azarenka.

The 22nd-seeded Pliskova needed three hours and two minutes to get past the former world no. 1, seeded 26th this year, 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2. This is the fourth time in the last six years that Pliskova’s made it to the quarters in New York.

In 2021, too, she’d reached this far before exiting the tournament. The 2016 US Open champion will face Aryna Sabalenka next. The sixth-seeded Sabalenka came from down a set in her battle against the 19th-seeded Danielle Collins, getting through 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 29 minutes.

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