Naomi Osaka’s conqueror Leylah Fernandez beat a second former champion in the shape of Angelique Kerber, while Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz followed up his brilliant five-set victory over third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas by ending the hopes of German Peter Gojowczyk
Last Updated: 06/09/21 7:18am
Teenage stars Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz continued their dream run at the US Open by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday.
Fernandez, who celebrates her 19th birthday on Tuesday, followed up her stunning third-round win over Naomi Osaka by dumping out a second former champion in the shape of Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.
Alcaraz became the youngest man to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows in the Open Era after he beat Peter Gojowczyk 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 6-0.
Canadian Fernandez came from a set and a break down to win 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 and continue an excellent tournament for the teenagers.
Fernandez had never gone past the third round at a Grand Slam before and she is enjoying the moment.
“I did have to pinch myself a little bit to see that it actually happened, but I knew that my tennis, my level of tennis is there.
“It’s just a moment of time, opportunity, and I’m glad that I was able to get this opportunity now and that I was able to showcase what I can do in front of these players.
“Even if I would have lost, I would have been proud of myself with the way that I played, the way that I fought.
“I was lucky enough to get the win today and just getting this experience. It’s my first quarter-finals in a Grand Slam. I’m just going to enjoy it at 100 per cent, and tomorrow is going to be a new day.”
The victory, which sets up a last-eight tie with Elina Svitolina, means her birthday celebrations may have to be low key.
She added: “Well, tomorrow I’ll be focusing on the doubles match, but today I think we’re just going to have a nice little dinner with my team and my family here in New York.
“I’m glad that my older sister and her fiancé and also my cousin was able to come and watch my match, so we are just going to go celebrate at a nice Italian restaurant we have been going to every night.”
Svitolina swept past former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep 6-3 6-3 to book her spot in the quarter-finals.
Second seed Aryna Sabalenka must be quietly eyeing her first Grand Slam title after going under the radar.
Sabalenka, who reached the Wimbledon semi-final, made it to the last eight in New York for the first time after beating Elise Mertens 6-4 6-1.
French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova won her late-night battle with Garbine Muguruza, coming out on top 6-3 7-6 (7-4).
Spain’s Alcaraz followed a brilliant five-set victory over third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round and further enhanced his reputation as the rising star of the men’s game.
It is certain to be the first of many deep runs into the biggest tournaments for Alcaraz, who has been compared to Rafael Nadal, but the 18-year-old is enjoying his place on the biggest stage.
“It’s really tough to play these kind of matches, to play five sets,” he said. “I hope to play more second weeks, to play more quarter-finals of Grand Slams.
“I didn’t expect to play quarter-finals here. So I think it’s a really good performance from me in these matches, so I’m really happy to play these kind of matches.”
His credentials will be tested even further in the next round as he faces Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The Canadian beat home favourite Frances Tiafoe 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.
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