NEW YORK – A recap of the action on Day 8 on Monday at the 2016 U.S. Open, including results, tweets, hot shots, photos and more.
• No. 10-seed Karolina Pliskova outlasted two-time champ Venus Williams in a three-set thriller on Monday to advance to the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
In the opening set, Venus led by a double-break at 5-1 but allowed the Czech to get back on serve. On a Venus double fault, Pliskova cut the deficit to 4-5 but Venus was able break back to take the first set 6-4. In the second set, Pliskova fought back from 1-3 down and served out the second set to force a decider against the No. 6-seed.
In the third set, Pliskova went up an early break thanks to her solid serving game. But in the seventh game of the set with Pliskova up 4-2, Venus was able hold at love for 4-3 and then break back to get back on serve at 4-4 in the final set. That seemed to be the turning point in the match for Venus, as she went on to hold for 5-4, but Pliskova saved match point and held to make it 5-5. She was able to follow it up with a break.
With Pliskova leading 6-5, Venus saved three match points to break for 6-6 in the third set to force a tiebreaker. Ultimately, on her fifth match point, Pliskova pulled out the win 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) to advance to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
"I think she started returning serve really well as the match progressed," Venus said after the match. "She lifted her game Definitely a lot of credit to her for hanging in there and staying positive."
Before today, Pliskova was the only player in the WTA top 20 never to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. In front of a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, the fans were clearly cheering for Venus, but Pliskova said she expected them to root for the American player and found a way to shrug it off.
"That was the biggest stage what I've played. In States obviously against American girl, I knew it's going to be tough. I knew if she's down or if it's somewhere close that the people will cheer for her," Pliskova said. "But, you know, I just wanted to beat her, not the crowd, which is impossible to beat 23,000 people. I just were not thinking about the crowd there. I had my box there. I had my people there. In the important moments, they helped me. I knew they are with me there, so was enough for me."
• Juan Martin del Potro is back in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open. Playing in Monday’s first match on Arthur Ashe, del Potro took the opening set 6-3 over Dominic Thiem, but the eighth-seeded Austrian seemed to struggle with a right leg injury early in the match. Thiem took a medical timeout in the second set and trainers came to examine his right knee. Down 6-3, 3-2 to del Potro, Thiem returned to the court and retired from the match, unable to continue playing. The 23-year-old said the knee pain started two or three days ago.
“At the beginning of the match it was basically okay, but maybe also because of all the excitement and this,” said Thiem, who will get an MRI on the knee on Monday. “From the end of first set, beginning of second set, it got worse and worse. No other choice.”
Del Potro—the 2009 U.S. Open champion—is back in the quarterfinals in New York for the first time since 2012. He awaits the winner of Marchenko-Wawrinka. With wins over No. 19-seed Steve Johnson, No. 11-seed David Ferrer and No. 8-seed Thiem, Monday marks the first time del Potro has beaten three top-25 players at a Slam since the 2009 U.S. Open.
"I always love to play in New York, in these stadiums. Of course I had a great memories from 2009, but now my person is completely different," del Potro said. "[I'm] enjoying even more when I get into the courts than years ago. I just want to play tennis in front of the big crowds. I'm so exciting to still winning matches and maybe be in the top positions in the future."
Ranked No. 142, del Potro is the lowest-ranked U.S. Open quarterfinalist since Jimmy Connors in 1991. He moves through to face No. 3-seed Stan Wawrinka, who needed four sets to dispatch of Illya Marchenko, 6-4, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3. The win put Wawrinka in his fourth straight U.S Open quarterfinal.
"[Wawrinka] will be the favorite to win in that match, but anything can happen in this event for me," del Potro said. "I got the power from the crowd in every match, and that's helped me a lot to fight and to play my best tennis. I'm confident with my level to do a good match."
• For the second straight year, Simona Halep is into the U.S. Open quarterfinals, beating No. 11-seed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 7-5 on Monday. No. 5-seed Halep came out strong to take the first set but was unable to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set. Ultimately, she was able to break Suarez Navarro and serve out the match. Halep continues a 24-3 record since the French Open and is looking to win her first Grand Slam title.
"My game now I feel is the best that I had ever, because I feel strong on my body. I feel that I can control every tactic during the match...I feel strong mentally, even if I have some bad moments during the matches. I feel that I play for every ball, so that means that I'm focused and I really want to win and I'm fighting," she said after Monday's match. "It's tough to say about the winning a Grand Slam because I never won, so I don't know the feeling. But I'm working hard to reach that title, to make that dreams come true."
Halep will next face No. 1 Serena Williams, who beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3 in 68 minutes to advance to the quarterfinals. Serena has yet to drop a set or have a break of serve at the U.S. Open so far through four matches. The win marked Serena's 308 Grand Slam match win, passing Roger Federer for the most in the Open era.
"Mental challenge I think doesn't have to be that important because she's like the best player in the world," Halep said of playing Serena. "I don't have to be afraid or to have emotions because I have nothing to lose. It's just a huge challenge for me. Just playing my game; I will try to do that. Physically I feel strong enough to face her, but you never know. She has a lot of power when she hits, so I have just to recover my body, to be 100% next round, and to give everything I have."
Tweets of the Day
If del Potro wins his quarterfinal, he'll be up about 100 spots in the ATP ranking to No. ~40 and he'll enter Masters events directly again.— Carl Bialik (@CarlBialik) September 5, 2016
Snapshots from Day 8
Daily Data Viz
If you’re wondering what dominance on serve looks like, look no further than Serena Williams.
This post will be updated.