US Open 2019, Day 8: Vekic reaches first Slam QF, Bencic d. Osaka for 3rd time this year

Just eight players remain in the singles draw at the 2019 US Open after Monday’s last 16 action. After a mostly dull set of third round matches, the fourth round delivered some great matches. The loss of the number one seed, Naomi Osaka, means that the top half of the draw will produce a first time finalist! Read on for highlights from day 8 of the 2019 US Open.

Match reviews 🎾

Donna Vekic d. Julia Goerges, 6-7(5) 7-5 6-3

In a fabulous contest, Donna Vekic saved a match point to beat Julia Goerges and advance to her first ever Slam quarter-final. You’ve got to feel for Goerges who was the better player for a set and a half, and had the match on her racquet. Goerges played a nervy service game when serving for the match at 7-6 *5-4. The German player hit three double faults, couldn’t buy a first serve and then serve and volleyed on a second serve down break point which she punted long. Goerges hit a tight forehand into the net on her lone match point.

I think this match showcased the progression of Donna Vekic. I think the biggest improvement in her game has been the mentality. Vekic was often negative and feeling sorry for herself on court. In this match, Vekic was outplayed at times and didn’t get much of a look in on return as Goerges rained down aces. However, Vekic kept battling in the second set and four times held serve at deuce. Vekic kept the scoreline close and then pounced when her opportunity arose. When serving for the match in the third set, Vekic found first serves when it counted as she saved two break points to serve out the biggest win of her career.

Really happy for Donna and the partnership with Torben Beltz continues to shine. Classy as always from Goerges who signed autographs before she left the court.

(13) Belinda Bencic d. (1) Naomi Osaka, 7-5 6-4

Belinda Bencic produced a flawless display to beat Naomi Osaka for the third time this year. The stand-out from this performance was how aggressively Bencic played, particularly on return. Bencic served well, winning 82% of first serves in, and was a perfect 10 for 10 on net points.

Osaka had the doctor and trainer on midway through the second set where she took some pills, and also seemed to be stretching out the knee. I don’t think you can take anything away from Bencic though. Osaka still produced some good numbers with a +5 winners to unforced error differential. Osaka was hitting the ball well but this just seems to be a good match-up for Bencic who takes the ball so early and uses Osaka’s power.

Bencic had a couple of miserable injury-riddled years so it’s nice to see her healthy again and playing so well. The Swiss player had been quiet over the summer but has sprung into life again.

While I was sleeping 😴

Elise Mertens cruised into the quarter-finals with a 6-1 6-1 win over Kristie Ahn.

Bianca Andreescu needed three sets to end the wonderful run of Taylor Townsend, 6-1 4-6 6-2. This is Andreescu’s first main draw at the US and she’s into the last eight.

Stat watch 🔢

Elise Mertens has dropped just 16 (!) games through four matches, the fewest of anyone left in the draw. Mertens is also the only player from the top half who has reached a Slam semi-final before.

Hot shot of the day 🔥

Goerges produced two hot shots in the first set tiebreak. Here’s an incredible pick up that got the racquet clap from Vekic.

Handshakes and hugs 🤗

A nice moment between Mertens and Ahn.

Press highlights 📰

Enjoyed Vekic’s press conference where she talked about her mentality, practice sessions and her next opponent. It was interesting to hear the pause before she spoke about Belinda as the journalist hinted at what she would need to do!

Recommended reading 📚

Get to know Wang Qiang who will contest her first Slam quarter-final on Tuesday against Serena.

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

Serena Williams takes on Wang Qiang and Elina Svitolina plays Johanna Konta in Tuesday’s quarter-finals.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Feature Photo by Omar Boraby.

6 thoughts on “US Open 2019, Day 8: Vekic reaches first Slam QF, Bencic d. Osaka for 3rd time this year

  1. I only watched the Bencic and Osaka match, which I actually found to be a little flat in atmosphere, for the most part. Bencic came out swinging, and then I thought it was all going to go the other way when Osaka levelled things up. Credit to Belinda for sticking with her game plan- would quite like to see a Bencic v Andreescu semi final. Although, I would equally enjoy Vekic v Mertens!

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      • Yeah American crowds are predictably fickle. The Gauff interview obviously did the trick, whether it was genuine or not.

        Who do you see coming through this top half? I feel like the most interesting players from the draw are the ones in the quarter finals!

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      • I’m torn on both matches! Bencic was so impressive vs. Osaka so probably favouring Bencic. I quite like Mertens to be honest but at the same time, feel like I might be underestimating Andreescu!

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  2. Elise is keeping somewhat under the radar at the moment but she’s playing very well, winning her last match against Kristie with a couple of breadsticks. If she keeps this up (and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t), I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the final.

    Looking forward to Belinda vs. Donna, should be a great match (and they’re friends too, so played in a good spirit). Also, rooting for Jo again but it’s a tough matchup for her so I won’t be too disappointed if Elina wins instead.

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    • Agree, Mertens has been very much under-the-radar. Quite like her chances vs. Andreescu but Bianca has been so, so impressive. I’m torn on both the QF match-ups from the top half.

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