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Friday, September 17, 2021

US Open: Karolina Pliskova, Lloyd Harris advance to quarters

The Wimbledon runner-up fired off seven forehand winners and converted on break point in the final game in the first set, before fending off six of Pavlyuchenkova's seven break point opportunities in the second set inside the Grandstand.

By: Reuters | New York |
Updated: September 7, 2021 8:16:55 am
US OpenKarolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, returns to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, of Russia, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova mounted a strong defensive effort to send Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova packing 7-5 6-4 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Monday, keeping on track her bid for a maiden major title.

The Wimbledon runner-up fired off seven forehand winners and converted on break point in the final game in the first set, before fending off six of Pavlyuchenkova’s seven break point opportunities in the second set inside the Grandstand.

The Czech had lost in the pair’s previous two encounters – in Madrid this year and at the 2020 Australian Open – but would not be denied a fourth trip to the U.S. Open quarter-final as she came out on top in a 14-shot rally on the second-to-last point before breaking Pavlyuchenkova’s serve to close out the match.

The world number four has put up an astonishing 58 aces so far at Flushing Meadows this year, by far the most of any of the remaining players, and next faces either Greek Maria Sakkari or Canadian Bianca Andreescu in the quarter-final.

Harris wins battle of big servers to reach U.S. Open quarters

Lloyd Harris Lloyd Harris, of South Africa, returns a shot against Reilly Opelka, of the United States, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Unseeded South African Lloyd Harris stormed into his first Grand Slam quarter-final with a crushing 6-7(6) 6-4 6-1 6-3 victory over American Reilly Opelka on Monday.

The 24-year-old Harris, whose previous best performance at a major was his run to the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year, will next face fourth seed Alexander Zverev for a place in the semi-finals.

Harris, who dispatched seventh seed Denis Shapovalov in straight sets in the previous round, won an incredible 92% of his first-serve points, smashing 36 aces and 62 winners to seize the initiative against Opelka.Harris pounced midway through the opening set to break Opelka’s booming serve and take a 5-4 lead.

Opelka broke straight back and held his nerve in the ensuing tiebreak to go 1-0 up in the match, but that was as good as it got for the 22nd seed.The second set stayed on serve until the very last game, with Harris getting the crucial break to level the match, before turning up the heat and pulling away from his opponent in the final two sets.

He broke Reilly six times in the match, while only losing his own serve once, keeping things tidy with just 16 unforced errors to close out the best result of his career.

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