Friday’s Set Points, US Open 2018 Day 5: Stephens & Kanepi back into the last 16 in New York

This post is another sweeping Set Points round-up for day 5 of the US Open with the top half of the draw competing in the third round. I’ve been out the last two nights so tennis has taken a backseat. Despite some biscuit baking planned, i’m excited to get to watch the next two days of tennis uninterrupted and am tempted to stay up tonight! Read on for six stories in Friday’s Set Points post.

Blockbuster #1 of the day – Stephens d. Azarenka

In the first match of the day on Ashe, Sloane Stephens continued her title defence with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Victoria Azarenka. I only caught the first five games before heading out. From what I saw, I was not surprised by the result. Stephens was controlling the rallies by opening up the court with angles. It didn’t feel like Azarenka had enough weaponry from the baseline to trouble Stephens. It did sound like things got dicey in the second set for Stephens as she was forced to come from a break down in the second set and win the last three games. According to the stats, Azarenka came to the net much more in the second set. No matter what happens from here, this is one of the better Slam title defences we’ve seen as Stephens moves into the second week.

While I was having a social life…

Anastasija Sevastova came from a set down to beat Ekaterina Makarova, 4-6 6-1 6-2. Sevastova is bidding to reach her third US Open quarter-final in a row!

Sevastova will play Elina Svitolina in the fourth round after the Ukrainian player beat Wang Qiang in straight sets, 6-4 6-4

Elise Mertens saved three set points in the second set to beat Barbora Strycova, 6-3 7-6(4). Mertens has reached the last 16 at three of the last four Slams.

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Beast mode 🔛 ! Last16 @usopen ⚡️

A post shared by Elina Svitolina🤞🏼 (@elisvitolina) on

Kanepi’s run continues

Knocking out the world number one in the first round was special. Backing it up though is never easy and Kaia Kanepi has done just that without dropping a set en route to the fourth round. Kanepi beat first-time-third-rounder-at-a-Slam, Rebecca Peterson, 6-3 7-6(3). I watched a set and a half of this match and really enjoyed it. Peterson has weapons and I think she has a bright future on the WTA tour.

Kanepi spent more time up on the baseline, had the heavier weight of shot and was more successful behind the first serve. The forehand was, at times, lethal. Peterson’s backhand broke down towards the end of the first set but she was very steady at the start of the second set and became more aggressive. I headed to bed after five straight breaks in the second set. Kanepi sealed the win in the tiebreak.

While I was sleeping…

Serena won #30 against Venus in one of her most dominant victories, 6-1 6-2. Serena sounding pretty mega! Next up is Kanepi in the fourth round.

Karolina Pliskova and Ash Barty both won in straights to set up a tantalising fourth rounder against each other. Barty-Muchova sounded fun!

Amazon Prime

The Amazon Prime coverage has been butchered by tennis fans here in the UK and Ireland. To their credit, they’ve started to react to the negative feedback and added new streams to the coverage and match replays. It’s a little late now for the court coverage because most of the matches are now on the top courts but hopefully they will learn their lesson next year to provide these additional streams from day 1 next year. I’ve got no complaints with the general service, commentary and pundits.

Saturday’s OOP

A bit gutted that the two matches of the day, Kvitova vs. Sabalenka and Ostapenko vs. Sharapova, are both at night. I’m tempted to stay up since it’s the weekend…

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14 thoughts on “Friday’s Set Points, US Open 2018 Day 5: Stephens & Kanepi back into the last 16 in New York

  1. Serena not playing! Kanepi will have to play the match of her life or hope that Serena has an off day…

    Thoughts on Karolina Pliskova this week? She hasn’t yet dropped a set. I think that may change with Barty, although I would expect the Czech to come through.

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  2. Stephens was so good in the first set and a half. She was missing just one first serve in the 1st set and her offense-defensive transition game was on.
    It got tight but she got it done. Hope she will get her revanche over Mertens.

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    • Everyone has an own taste.
      I would like to see a QF rematch from last year between Stephens and Sevastova; it was such an entertaining match.

      Nevertheless, apart from personal bias, I think Stephens should come through this section, too.

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      • I believe Sloane will. Although I honestly think Svitolina has the game to beat her. She just seems to lack the belief on the biggest stages, for some reason. It’s amazing that someone could so confidently beat players like Serena, Kerber, Wozniacki, Halep, Muguruza and Venus in Premier level events…but when it comes to the Slams she just can’t dig in.

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      • I think she has the ability to do well at slams, too.
        But her lacking braveness in tight matches cost her and the biggest stages certainly don’t favour her when she gets tight too.

        I like when she’s aggressive but I hate it that she often goes back to pushing in these tight moments. It’s kind of like Wozniacki imo.

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  3. I’m just bummed for Vika! Great performance by Sloane and she just reminded us how good she is against the big guns. I’m just wanting Vika to hit top form again, hopefully AO 19.
    I’m really excited for tomorrow’s 3rd matches. Some are worthy of being slam QF and SF match ups like. Ostapenko vs Sharapova, Kerber vs Cibulkova, Petra vs Sabalenka, Garcia vs Suarez Navarro
    I can’t remember the last time there’s been a bunch of good matches early in a slam before!

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    • Vika’s press conference was quite positive, considering the loss. I think she’s getting there and good to hear she is set to play a full Asian swing. Hopefully set her up nicely for 2019.

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  4. Good day today for smaller players; Domi won 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 against Angie Kerber (pome!) and Carla S-N beat Caroline Garcia 5-7, 6-4, 7-6.

    Carla turns 30 on Monday so it’s a good birthday present for her to again make the second week of a slam.

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  5. Well, if there ever was a day to go big on lower ranked seeds, Saturday was it. The culling was quite deep. Those that survived were likewise imperious, Osaka at the very top of the lot. Reminiscent of her time in the desert during spring.

    Friday and Saturday have been some of the best matches to spectate!

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