On Louis Armstrong Stadium, 5th seed Alexander Zverev begins against youngster Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who took out Cameron Norrie in the previous round. Fokina, who is Spanish with Russian roots, is talented, eccentric and really fun. There will be huge hitting off the ground, variety and perhaps even an underarm serve or two. There will also be many bad decisions.
Fokina has been playing extremely well this week so let’s see what he can do against Zverev, who has quietly moved into the fourth round and has clearly figured out how to navigate slam draws after his Australian Open semi-final in January.
It should be noted that Yulia Putintseva is one of the most notorious players on the WTA. Her actual tennis is lovely – she is a small, smart and resourceful player who can hit every shot in the book. But she is also a bit crazy. Her temperament is terrible and she is famed for her “drive by” handshakes. She once left the court after a loss at the Australian Open and flipped off the entire crowd. She’s great!
Over on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Yulia Putintseva takes the first set 6-3 on 8th seed Petra Martic. It would be Putintseva’s first career US Open quarterfinal if she sees it out.
Joe Salisbury is currently ranked 5th in the ATP doubles rankings (90 points ahead of Ram, who sits in 6th). He would return to his career high of 3 with a title this week.
Jennifer Brady was initially speechless. Asked how it feels to be a US Open quarterfinalist:
“Wow, I… Wow, I… It feels great. I’m so happy.”
Jennifer Brady dominates Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-4
Kerber fought hard in the second set and rattled her inexperienced opponent, but Jennifer Brady was far too good at the end. She served it out to 15 and with ease.
Another exceptional, complete performance from the breakout player of 2020 to reach her first slam quarterfinal. She may not be well known right now, but she is a clear title contender.
Angelique Kerber holds on, saving a match point to force Brady to serve out the match. She saved the match point at 30-40 with a huge inside out forehand, then she followed it up with another forehand winner at deuce. From game point, Kerber found a big unreturned first serve to hold. Jennifer Brady leads Angelique Kerber at 6-1 *5-4.
The nerves have arrived for Brady, but so far she is enduring them. An incredible effort from the American to survive a topsy-turvy game, saving four break points to hold for 6-1 5-3 on Angelique Kerber.
After squandering a 40-15 lead, the pair descended into a long deuce game of break points and game points. Brady saved the first with a brutal forehand down the line winner. On the second, Brady found a big unreturned first serves in a row to scupper the danger. She finally held with an enormous forehand down-the-line winner after a long rally. One game away. Jennifer Brady leads Angelique Kerber 6-1 *5-3.
Somehow, Angelique Kerber is still in this. She faced another two break points at 15-40, but she responded with a rare ace on the first and then she rode her luck with a bad backhand return error from Brady on the second break point. Brady then dumped a routine forehand into the net at deuce before Kerber closed with a big forehand down-the-line. Will there be nerves for Brady? Kerber is counting on it. Jennifer Brady leads Angeelique Kerber 6-1 *4-3.
Kerber rightfully tried to test the taped Brady left thigh, winning the first two points and then reach 15-40. But Brady responded so well, firing four big points in a row to escape.
She saved the first break point with an unreturned slider out wide and then she executed a quick serve and forehand combo on the second. At deuce, Brady buried an inside out forehand winner and then she finished with a lovely crosscourt backhand winner. All out attack. Jennifer Brady leads Angelique Kerber 6-1 4-2*.
On court 17, men’s doubles third seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram have a little to think about against Mackie McDonald and Chris Eubanks. After two double faults in the game, Salisbury lost his serve and the pair are now down a break in the second set. Salisbury/Ram lead Eubanks/McDonald 6-2 *2-5.
23rd seed Yulia Putintseva and 8th seed Petra Martic have arrived on Ashe for their fourth round.
Despite how well she is playing, Jennifer Brady is feeling some aches. She has gone off-court to take a medical timeout for what looked like her thigh.
Angelique Kerber just about hangs on, saving a break point to hold serve. The break point was saved well as Kerber paired an excellent wide serve with a crosscourt backhand. After Brady smited the first game point, Kerber found a couple of good first serve, eventually holding by following a big serve down the T with a searing down-the-line forehand. Jennifer Brady leads Angelique Kerber 6-1 *3-2.
Angelique Kerber is smart and experienced enough to know what she needs to do but it is just so tough. Kerber is taking on more returns, moving further forward to the baseline and trying to change directions down the line whenever she can. But Brady is so sharp. Down 30-40, she quickly scuppered the danger with a typical serve-forehand 1-2 punch. After some good serving from the American, Kerber eventually dumped a backhand into the net on game point. Jennifer Brady leads Angelique Kerber 6-1 3-1*.
Victoria Azarenka, who played a great match to beat young talent Iga Swiatek last night, is in a very good mood this week. Beware.
That one game comeback was good while it lasted. Jennifer Brady immediately recovers the break to love after a forehand into the net. Sadly for Angelique Kerber, her second serve is still so vulnerable and it will take so much more to shake Brady off her game. Brady leads 6-1 *2-1.
Incredible work from Angelique Kerber to recover from 40-0 on Brady’s serve and immediately break back.
Brady double faulted on the first point, but what followed was a glorious string of Kerber winners. From 15-40, Kerber produced two forehand winners in succession. At deuce, she changed things up with a lovely dropshot before nailing her crosscourt backhand passing shot after Brady approached the net. She closed it off by stepping into Brady’s second serve and crushing a forehand down-the-line return winner. Brady leads 6-1 1-1*.
Over on Court 17, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury lead Chris Eubanks and Mackie McDonald 6-2 *0-1.
Jennifer Brady opens the second set with an immediate break for 6-1 *1-0.
Angelique Kerber is certainly trying out here. After double faulting at 15-30 and facing double break point, she saved the first with an excellent point, moving Brady from side to side with her forehand before punching a forehand winner crosscourt. She then found a decent serve to scupper the second. But Brady just keeps on coming back, at deuce she crunched another crosscourt forehand winner. On her third break point, her forehand did all the damage again, before she stepped in and slotted a backhand down the line winner. She is bullying the former number one.
Jennifer Brady’s first set stats:
- 60% first serves in play
- 75% first serves won
- 88% second serves won
- 8 winners
- 3 unforced errors
- 100% second serve return points won
Jennifer Brady takes the first set 6-1 on Angelique Kerber in just 23 minutes. A brutal, efficient set. Brady is serving brilliantly, pummelling her forehand behind it, battering the Kerber return, mixing things up with her slice and moving really well. In short, she is ticking every single box.
This is just brutal play from Brady, who is forcing Kerber to take big risks early in the points. Kerber unleashed on an excellent forehand down-the-line winner to reach 30-30 on her serve, only to watch Brady drill a backhand down the line return winner on the very next point. Under immense pressure and break point down, Kerber attempted another big forehand down-the-line but this time it flew wide. Already, Brady will serve for the set at *5-1.
Over on court 17, one of two remaining Brit-infused doubles teams are in action. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury have breezed to a *3-2 lead on US players Chris Eubanks and Mackie McDonald.
Another excellent hold to 15 from Brady, who is serving extremely well from the beginning. She closed it off with a quick serve-forehand 1-2 punch. Jennifer Brady leads Angelique Kerber 4-1*.
Jennifer Brady takes the first break and she leads Angelique Kerber *3-1. Despite her lack of experience, the American looks really assured early on and she is bullying Kerber from the baseline. Under pressure after a couple of big Brady returns, Kerber sprayed two forehand errors to hand over the game.
A series of routine service games to kick things off on Armstrong. Jennifer Brady leads Angelique Kerber 2-1.
On Amazon Prime, Laura Robson describes how different it feels to play a fourth round match compared with the third round:
“Very different. I just remember there being a lot less people around in the locker rooms, in the restaurant, in the lounges. You just notice that it’s really starting to thin out. It’s a bit more pressure because you just feel like, ‘Oh this is getting real. This is potentially a massive opportunity for me to reach the quarters – to move forward.’”
It will feel even more real to Brady with so few competitions being contested at the US Open this year.
To the casual viewer, this probably doesn’t seem like a particularly big match but it is huge. 28th seed Jennifer Brady has been one of the in-form and breakthrough players this year, winning her first title earlier this month at the Top Seed Open in Lexington. She has a huge game, with a good serve, heavy topspin forehand and great court sense. Although she is in her first slam fourth round, none of this is a surprise.
Across the net, everyone knows Angelique Kerber. She is a former no 1 and three time slam champion but she has been far from her best over the past 18 months and she is currently ranked 23rd. Kerber did not play any warmup tournament coming into New York but she has looked good in her first match. How good? this match will tell us a lot. The winner will be the favourite to reach the semis.
The first singles match of the day is moments from beginning. Angelique Kerber and Jennifer Brady have taken to the court and are just in the final stages of their warm up on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Hello! Welcome to the first day of the fourth round at the US Open, where the field has thinned dramatically in one day. After all of the action around the grounds for the first six days, today there are only three courts in action. In normal times, the doubles competitions would still be in the opening rounds, the junior events would just be starting and some legends exhibitions would appear on the order of play. It all feels quite empty now.
On the schedule today:
Arthur Ashe Stadium (5pm):
- (23)Yulia Putintseva vs (8) Petra Martic
- (1) Novak Djokovic vs (20) Pablo Carreno Busta
- Denis Shapovalov  vs  David Goffin (not before 12am)
-  Naomi Osaka vs  Anett Kontaveit
Louis Armstrong Stadium (4pm)
-  Jennifer Brady vs  Angelique Kerber
- Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs (5) Alexander Zverev
- Shelby Rogers vs (6) Petra Kvitova (27)
-  Borna Coric vs Jordan Thompson