Canada’s Fernandez and partner Townsend advance to quarters at U.S. Open

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and American partner Taylor Townsend have advanced in the women’s doubles tournament at the U.S. Open in New York.

Fernandez and Townsend beat Karolina Pliskova of Czechia and Croatia’s Donna Vekic 7-6 (3), 6-1 in the Round of 16 on Sunday.

Ottawa’s Gabrielle Dabrowski and New Zealand’s Erin Routliffe, who used to represent Canada, will face Czechia’s Barbora Strycova and Marketa Vondrousova on Monday.

Fernandez and Townsend will face the winner of that match in the women’s doubles quarterfinals.

Although Pliskova and Vekic had four aces to Fernandez and Townsend’s two, they also double faulted seven times to the Canadian-American pairs’ four.

Fernandez and Townsend won 79 per cent of their first serves and 62 per cent of their second serves, taking three of eight break points.

Muchova off to quarterfinals

Karolina Muchova reached the women’s singles quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Sunday in New York with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 victory over Wang Xinyu.

For the 10th-seeded Czech, a 2021 Australian Open semifinalist who has reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon twice, it marked her deepest run ever at Flushing Meadows.

She did it after losing control of the second set to her Chinese opponent and taking over in the third, with a strong all-court attack that included 32 winners.

“I came back to my game, to slice it more and to change the rhythm — that was the key,” Muchova told the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd in her post-match interview.

Muchova’s next opponent is No. 30 Sorana Cirstea, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over 15th-seeded Belinda Bencic. It marks the Romanian’s second run to a Grand Slam quarterfinals after doing it at the French Open in 2009.

Still to come in Ashe on a hot, sunny day at Flushing Meadows is a matchup between No. 6 Coco Gauff and Caroline Wozniacki, who hopes to take her comeback from retirement into the quarterfinals.

At night, Novak Djokovic, the No. 2 seed and 23-time Grand Slam champion, faces 25-year-old qualifier Borna Gojo of Croatia, followed by women’s No. 1 Iga Swiatek against No. 20 Jelena Ostapenko.

Shelton downs Paul

Big-serving Ben Shelton moved into the quarterfinals on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Tommy Paul, the second time this year he has gotten that far in a Grand Slam event.

Shelton flexed his bicep to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after match point when he avenged a four-set win by Paul when the Americans met in this year’s Australian Open quarterfinals. He did that by winning 75 per cent of his first-serve points, blasting 16 aces and putting in two serves in one game recorded at 149 mph (239 km per hour).

“I think it was straight adrenaline,” he told the crowd after the match. “Any other atmosphere I couldn’t get it done.”

Shelton, a 20-year-old who won the NCAA singles title at Florida in 2022, becomes the youngest American man to reach the final eight at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick did it at the same age in 2002.

Shelton next faces the winner of the match later Sunday between 10th-seeded Frances Tiafoe and Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata. Yet another American, ninth-seeded Taylor Fritz, also has a chance to make the quarterfinals if he can get past Swiss qualifier Dominic Stricker, who took out No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.

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