Svitolina becomes first Ukrainian eve in US Open semis; Nadal aces Cilic - GulfToday

Svitolina becomes first Ukrainian eve in US Open semis; Nadal aces Cilic


Elina Svitolina celebrates her win over Johanna Konta in their quarter-final match of the US Open. Reuters

Elina Svitolina became the first Ukrainian woman to reach the US Open semi-finals on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over British 16th seed Johanna Konta.

Fifth seed Svitolina is through to the last four at a second consecutive Grand Slam after her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals. She will either play six-time US Open champion Serena Williams or China’s Wang Qiang for a place in Saturday’s final.

Rafael Nadal earlier ramped up his quest for a fourth US Open title Monday with an impressive win over 2014 champion Marin Cilic to advance to the quarter-finals while Alexander Zverev slumped to a four-set defeat.

Second seed Nadal -- the winner at Flushing Meadows in 2010, 2013 and 2017 -- produced some electrifying moments of brilliance to end the challenge of Croatian 22nd seed Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

After barely breaking a sweat in reaching the last 16, a run that included a second-round walkover, Nadal stared down his stiffest test so far to surge into a quarter-final meeting with Argentine 20th seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Spaniard exchanged the first two sets with Cilic but grasped control by breaking for 3-1 in the third, a series of dazzling winners drawing an animated fist-pump from golf legend Tiger Woods at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Nadal reeled off nine games in succession across the third and fourth sets and 12 of the final 15 to nail down a 40th Grand Slam quarter-final appearance, nine of which have come at the US Open.

“The emotions I have when I play here are impossible to describe. I love the sport and feel very lucky to still be playing tennis here. Eight years ago I didn’t think that would happen as my body was suffering badly,” Nadal said.

Nadal’s path to the final sees him take on Schwartzman next after the 5ft 7in (1.70m) Argentine chopped down sixth seed Zverev 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

The German was enjoying his deepest run in New York but committed 17 double faults and 65 unforced errors and received a point penalty for swearing as Schwartzman advanced to a second US Open quarter-final in three years.

Matteo Berrettini became just the second Italian man to progress to the US Open quarter-finals, 42 years after Corrado Barazzutti’s run to the last four in New York.

Berrettini, the 24th seed, eased to a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) win over Russia’s 43rd-ranked Andrey Rublev to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam for the first time. Berrettini, 23, goes on to play French 13th seed Gael Monfils.

Monfils, a 2016 US Open semi-finalist, crushed the 33-year-old Andujar’s bid to become the oldest player in the Open era to reach his first Grand Slam singles quarter-final with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 rout.

Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Belgian 25th seed Elise Mertens cruised past 141st-ranked US wildcard Kristie Ahn 6-1, 6-1 in 67 minutes to book a quarter-final berth against 19-year-old Canadian 15th seed Bianca Andreescu.

The only deeper Slam run for Mertens was into last year’s Australian Open semi-finals while Andreescu, whom the Belgian has never faced, extended her career-best Slam performance by defeating 116th-ranked US qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

Andreescu, a champion this year at Indian Wells and Toronto who could crack the world top 10 next week, improved to 6-0 this year against left-handers.

“I’m really happy, but the tournament’s not done yet. I think I can do even better than get to the quarters here this year.”

Andreescu would become the youngest US Open champion since Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2004 if she wins Saturday’s final, a week older than the Russian was when she lifted the trophy 15 years ago.

Asked if she expected to win her first Grand Slam title this week, Andreescu replied: “Every tournament I go into, I want to win it. I expect a lot from myself which -- yes, to answer your question.”

Agence France-Presse

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