Elombah
Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

US Open: Thrills and shrills at women’s Saturday corner

78

In women's action Friday, Caroline Wozniacki, Roberta Vinci, Johanna Konta and Petra Kvitova all moved into the round of 16 with comfortable victories.

In women’s action Friday, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, Italian No. 7 seed Roberta Vinci, Britain’s Johanna Konta and Czech Petra Kvitova all moved into the round of 16 with comfortable victories.

American No. 8 seed Madison Keys, however, survived a huge scare from Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka, rallying from a 5-1 third-set deficit to win 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3).

In one upset in the women’s draw, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko defeated 12th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

US OPEN SATURDAY: MAJOR MILESTONES

Twenty-two-time major champion Serena Williams is not the only player aiming to reach a significant milestone on Day 6 of the US Open. 

SATURDAY, THIRD ROUND

[5] Simona Halep (ROU #5) vs. [31] Timea Babos (HUN #34) 

Head-to-head: Halep leads, 2-1

Key Stat: Halep has won 19 of her last 21 matches. 

Simona Halep wasn’t exactly thrilled with her level of play during her second-round win over Lucie Safarova.

But she takes comfort in the fact that she has navigated a very tricky draw to get to the third round in New York for the fourth straight year. 

“In the important moments I found the rhythm,” Halep said of her 6-3, 6-4 win over Safarova. 

“I found the way that I have to hit. And also the serve helped me a lot in important moments.” 

Halep will next turn her attention to the blossoming Hungarian, Timea Babos. 

The No.31 seed moved into the third round at a major for the first time by defeating Richel Hogenkamp in straight sets, but her next test will be far more difficult. 

Babos has gone 0-8 against the Top 10 since 2015, but she does own a victory over Halep in Fed Cup, which came in 2014. 

Pick: Halep in three

[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. Johanna Larsson (SWE #47) 

Head-to-head: Williams leads, 2-0

Key Stat: Williams is bidding for a record 307th Grand Slam victory on Saturday. 

With a win on Day 6 Serena Williams will pass Martina Navratilova in Grand Slam victories, and move into a tie with Roger Federer for the all-time lead in that category. 

It’s been a remarkable journey for Williams, who first graced the Grand Slam stage with her presence in 1998. 

Eighteen years later, Williams’ quest for history continues at the scene of her maiden Grand Slam title in 1999. 

But the 34-year-old has work to do in New York and she knows it. Time for tunnel vision. 

Always a perfectionist, Williams was not pleased with her second-round victory over Vania King despite the fact that it came in straight sets. 

“I feel like I made a lot of errors,” she told reporters on Thursday. “But, you know, there’s nothing I can do about that now. 

What really matters is I got the win. Hopefully I’ll just get better.” There was some good news for the World No.1, however.

The serve is ramping up. Williams cracked 13 aces and won 30 of 36 first-serve points against King. 

“That was the best part of my game today,” Williams said of her vaunted serve. 

“So seeing that’s what I did the least coming into this tournament, it’s a really good sign of me being able to serve well and hopefully gain momentum on that.” 

Williams has taken all four sets she has played against her third-round opponent, Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

And if she can continue to serve well, the rest of her game should fall into place.

Pick: Williams in two

[4] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #4) vs. [25] Caroline Garcia (FRA #33) 

Head-to-head: Radwanska leads, 3-1

Key Stat: Radwanska improved to 28-7 on hardcourts this season with her second-round victory.

Agnieszka Radwanska was tested early and often during her second-round win over Naomi Broady.

But the Pole dealt with the Brit’s very aggressive game and found a way to sneak out with the straight-sets win. 

Next up she’ll face a familiar Frenchwoman that has played her competitively over the years. 

Radwanska owns a 3-1 edge over Caroline Garcia, but the No.4 seed knows she’ll have to be on point if she is to book her fifth appearance in the US Open’s second week. 

“We played couple of times,” Radwanska said of Garcia on Thursday. “Long matches, long battles. 

“Playing her is never easy. She’s very solid player, really hitting the ball hard, coming in. 

“Just hitting really fast from the bounce. She’s not giving you much time.” 

Radwanska has never reached the quarterfinals in New York, but her draw is a favorable one. 

She’s hoping that she’s in good enough form to capitalize. “I’m healthy,” she told reporters on Thursday. 

“I’m in one piece. It’s good opportunity to make a good result here. I was doing everything in my power 100% to prepare for this US Open, so we’ll see.”

Pick: Radwanska in three

[10] Karolina Pliskova (CZE #11) vs. [17] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS #18)

Head-to-head: Pliskova leads, 3-0

Key Stat: Pliskova owns a 15-17 lifetime record at the majors.

The head-to-head with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova favors Karolina Pliskova, but what about the nerves? 

Pliskova has reached the third round at a major three times before and each time she has fallen. 

Though the Czech is one of the most talented players on tour, her lack of success at the majors has hung over her like a black cloud for the last 18 months. 

Can she get the monkey off her back on Saturday?

It will not be an easy task as Pavlyuchenkova has been in very solid form since before Wimbledon. 

The Russian has been battle-tested here in New York already, and came through with flying colors as she defeated Kristina Mladenovic in a three-set thriller that took three hours and two-minutes to finish. 

Pliskova has yet to drop a set in New York, and she’s certainly in good enough form to get past the Russian.

But will she be able to break through the mental barrier and produce what could be a career-changing victory?

Pick: Pliskova in three

BY THE NUMBERS:

306 – Matches won by Serena Williams at majors. She’ll bid to tie Roger Federer’s all-time record of 307 on Day 6.

18 – Venus Williams’ 18 US Open appearances is most among active players and fourth in the Open Era, behind Martina Navratilova (21), Amy Frazier (20), and Chris Evert (19). 

3 – Radwanska is one of three players that could finish the tournament at No. 1 in the rankings, along with Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber. 

0 – Number of times Karolina Pliskova has reached the second week in 17 previous majors. She’ll bid to change that today when she meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

© Copyright 2016 www.elombah.com. Send eyewitness accounts/reports/articles to publisher@elombah.com; follow us on twitter handle @Elombah; like our Facebook page: “Elombah.com”.

Share your thoughts in the comment box below:

Comments are closed.