Williams relieved to reach her first quarter-final of this year

Murray beats Tsonga to set up quarter-final against Djokovic

 

Andy Murray recorded his best win since lifting the Wimbledon trophy last year to set up a blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Novak Djokovic. Murray had not beaten a top-10 player since his emotional victory over Djokovic on Centre Court more than a year ago but played a very fine match in the New York heat to defeat ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-5 6-4.

It maintained the Scot’s impressive record of having reached at least the quarter-finals of every grand slam tournament he has played in for the past four years.

World number one Djokovic was the first man through to the quarter-finals, sweeping past Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1 7-5 6-4. The top seed needed just 19 minutes to race in front 5-0 before Kohlschreiber finally held serve. But the small victory could not stop Djokovic wrapping up the first set and going on to claim the match without surrendering a break.

Serena Williams reached her first grand slam quarter-final of the year with victory over Kaia Kanepi at the US Open at Flushing Meadows yesterday. So far there have been none of the wobbles that led to unexpected defeats for the world number one in Melbourne, Paris and at Wimbledon. She has not lost more than three games in any set and was a relatively comfortable 6-3 6-3 winner over her Estonian opponent on Monday.

Williams has looked totally focused on the job in hand this tournament and did not lose a point in her first three service games of the match. Kanepi, another big hitter, kept pace with her initially but once Williams made the breakthrough for 5-3, the first set was gone.

Having broken again in the opening game of the second, there was an embarrassing moment for the two-time defending champion when she completely fluffed a smash and dropped her serve to love. But it was soon forgotten, as was the eighth game when she served for the match and was broken, with Williams clinching victory on Kanepi’s serve

“She plays really well, she hits the ball incredibly hard,” she said. “The turning point was I kept fighting and I relaxed, I said, ‘Serena, whatever happens, you’re still in doubles’.”

The world number one then raised her hands in the air, and said triumphantly: “I finally made a quarter-final this year! I think I felt it [the pressure] in my serving game, ‘Can I please make it to the quarters once this year’. I’m glad to do it in New York.”

In the last eight, Williams will face 11th seed Flavia Pennetta, who is having another good run at Flushing Meadows. The Italian has only made one quarter-final at all the other grand slams combined but is through to her fifth in New York after a 7-5 6-2 victory over Casey Dellacqua. “Everyone asks the same question,” said Pennetta when asked to explain her success. “I don’t know. I just like to play here and maybe that’s why I play good here.”

Australian Dellacqua has had a remarkable rise over the last 12 months, from outside 180 in the rankings to 32, but 35 unforced errors cost her dearly against the consistency of Pennetta.

Pennetta has lost all five previous matches against her fellow 32-year-old Williams but will head into the clash with a positive attitude. “You just have to play your tennis and do your best,” she said. “Of course, she’s better than me, but if I believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn’t have a good day I can do that.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.