Medvedev to face Dutch qualifier in US Open quarter-finals

By: AFP      Published: 09:50 AM, 6 Sep, 2021
Medvedev to face Dutch qualifier in US Open quarter-finals
Russia's Daniil Medvedev hits a return to Britain's Daniel Evans during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men's singles fourth round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. AFP

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev marched into the US Open quarter-finals on Sunday, where a shock Dutch qualifier will try to deny him a third straight trip to the New York semi-finals.

Medvedev defeated British 24th seed Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-4, 6-3, making his fourth trip to the last eight in the past five Grand Slams as he chases his first Slam title.

Medvedev, who lost this year's Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic and the 2019 US Open final to Rafael Nadal, has not dropped a set in four matches.

"Now I just want to make it to the finals again to have another thing to remember, and hopefully a better one," Medvedev said.

Medvedev next faces 117th-ranked Botic Van de Zandschulp, who outlasted Argentine 11th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 in four hours and 20 minutes.

"I don't really have words for it," Van de Zandschulp said. "Played so many matches. Some of them I was on the brink of defeat but I pulled through and won them."

He also matched the best showing by any US Open qualifier, last-eight runs by Frenchman Nicolas Escude in 1999 and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in 2008.

"First time for me in America and it feels great," said Van de Zandschulp, who wondered how his homeland is reacting to his run.

"No one expected me to reach the quarter-finals," he said. "I think they are amazed and hopefully proud."

An Evans double fault handed Medvedev a break for a 3-1 lead and the Russian held three times to take the first set.

After trading second-set breaks to 3-3, the Russian broke at love in the seventh game and hold out from there.

In the third set, Medvedev broke on a forehand winner in the third game and took the final eight points, holding and breaking at love for the match.

"In sport, there's levels, and he was a different level to me today," Evans said.

With only nine seeds among the men's last 16, it's the fewest seeds to advance so far at a Slam since nine at Wimbledon in 2013 and at a US Open since eight in 2005.

Fernandez ousts Kerber

Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez followed her shock upset of 2020 US Open winner Naomi Osaka by defeating German 16th seed and three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.

"I just tried to use all my trainings from back home," Fernandez said. "They told me take it point by point. I was glad I was able to execute it."

Seven of the top nine women's seeds reached the last 16 with Osaka and top-ranked Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty exiting early.

Fernandez, who turns 19 on Monday, advanced to a first Slam quarter-final against Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina, the fifth seed from Ukraine.

Svitolina, who turns 27 next Sunday, beat two-time major winner Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 to reach her eighth Grand Slam quarter-final. Svitolina, coming off a WTA title in Chicago, stretched her win streak to nine matches.

"That's going to be a very tough match," Fernandez said. "She returns a lot of balls. She's aggressive. I'm just going to go on court and try to keep doing what I've been doing."

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who made a Slam-best run to July's Wimbledon semi-finals, eliminated Belgian 15th seed Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-1.

"I work so hard to play this game at this level," Sabalenka said. "I worked my ass really hard to get here. I work so hard to get these wins. I will do everything I can each match."

Sabalenka will next face either Czech eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova, the reigning French Open champion, or Spanish ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam winner.

Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who upset Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, reached his first Slam quarter-final by downing 141st-ranked German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

Alcaraz, ranked 55th, is the youngest US Open men's quarter-finalist since Brazilian Thomaz Koch in 1963.

The Spaniard will face either Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or American Frances Tiafoe, with one of the three assured of playing his first Grand Slam semi-final.

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