After the madness of day 4, day 5 of the US Open was pretty quiet as the higher ranked player won in seven of the eight matches. It has paved the way though for some potential blockbusters later in the week on this side of the draw. Read on for the highlights from Friday’s action at the US Open including reviews of wins for Ash Barty, Elina Svitolina, Serena Williams and Madison Keys. I’m so relieved it is the weekenddddd!
Match reviews 🎾
(8) Serena Williams d. Karolina Muchova, 6-3 6-2
Serena Williams had her game face on from the start and produced an excellent performance to defeat Karolina Muchova, in straight sets. I really thought (and hoped) this would be a competitive match and the early signs were promising. From 3-3, Serena pulled away and won 9 of the last 11 games. Muchova’s serve is better than average but Serena tore into it with fast and aggressive returns. Muchova wasn’t able to play the match on her own terms and was forced to take more risks than usual.
Serena is back into the second week at the US Open. Crazy stat – Serena has reached at least the fourth round in her last 18 appearances at the US Open. She’s only once failed to make it this far and that was in her first outing in New York in 1998!
(2) Ash Barty d. (30) Maria Sakkari, 7-5 6-3
Ash Barty completed the hat-trick of wins this year over Maria Sakkari in what was a scrappy encounter. I thought Sakkari had a shot in this one. The Greek player had never made it past the third round of a Slam in six previous attempts and I had a feeling this might be her time. Sakkari competed well in the opener and led 5-4 with serve, but just produced too many errors, many due to Barty’s slice with forehands into the net.
Sakkari fell away fast at the end of the second set. Nothing special from Barty and just a solid display against a mostly inconsistent, Sakkari. Barty will need to up her first serve percentage if she’s going to delve deeper in this draw. We’re just two results away from a Serena-Ash quarter-final 🙏.
(10) Madison Keys d. (20) Sofia Kenin, 6-3 7-5
Madison Keys is into the last 16 of the US Open for the fifth consecutive year as she beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets for the second time this summer. Keys played a blinding first set, one of the best i’ve seen from her all year. Keys was booming down first serves and hitting with tremendous depth. In this form, she looks unbeatable.
Keys’s level dropped in the second set and she had the trainer/doctor on midway through it. Kenin had her opportunities to force a decider and I wonder if she would have gone on to win it considering Keys’s physical state. Kenin had eight break points across four of Keys’s service games. I just thought Kenin generally had a bit of an off day and gave Keys too much rhythm. If Keys can recover from whatever was bothering her, she looks in fantastic form right now.
(5) Elina Svitolina d.. (32) Dayana Yastremska, 6-2 6-0
Elina Svitolina cruised into the last 16 as she beat fellow compatriot, Dayana Yastremska in just 54 (!) minutes. I had high expectations for this match and thought it could be a thriller. Sadly not to be as Yastremska had an absolute shocker, finishing with six winners to 36 unforced errors. Svitolina played a solid match and served very well. Even with reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon, I felt Svitolina struggled with her depth at SW19. In this particular match, Svitolina maintained decent depth on her groundstrokes which likely contributed to Yastremska’s error-strewn display.
Seeded upsets 😲
The higher ranked player won in seven of the eight matches on Friday. The only “upset” saw the number 22 seed, Petra Martic beat the number 12 seed, Anastasija Sevastova, 6-4 6-3. Martic has now reached the last 16 of the last three Slams and has had one of the most consistent Slam years of anyone.
Stat watch 🔢
There is only one player who has managed to reach the second week of all four Slams in 2019… Ash Barty 👏👏👏.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
Lovely as always between Ash and Maria.
Press highlights 📰
Taylor Townsend’s press conference after her second round win over Simona Halep is linked below. Taylor talks about dealing with trolls on social media and a previous exchange with Halep where she approached the Romanian player after a loss in Miami. Love listening to Taylor, so thoughtful!
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Third round matches from the top half will be played on Saturday with Osaka-Gauff the stand-out match. Also super intrigued by Andreescu-Wozniacki and Bencic-Kontaveit. Hoping for a better day of matches because Friday was a dud!