losangelesnewstoday.com April 25, 2018

Pliskova, Nadal into quarterfinals

06 September 2017, 12:29 | Stacy Ballard

CoCo Vandeweghe Into The Quarters After Concentrating On Fitness This Year

US Open Pliskova survives Zhang scare Nadal wins epic battle

The world number one had to save match point before beating China's Shaui Zhang in the third round but she was hardly forced to break sweat against the American world number 91, running out a 6-1 6-0 victor at Flushing Meadows.

Against an undoubtedly tricky opponent capable of playing well above her unseeded status, this was an impressive performance from Vandeweghe, who successfully backed up her win over Agnieszka Radwanska with 16 winners and six aces today.

Pliskova had lost to Angelique Kerber in the final at Flushing Meadows past year and it should be sure to play again in the final to retain the first rank in the women classification.

"I think she was playing very well", Pliskova said when asked about Vandeweghe. Just get as many balls in as you can.' I was lucky that I had an fantastic crowd and atmosphere.

The top seed, who needs to win her quarterfinal against either Lucie Safarova or CoCo Vandeweghe to have a chance of retaining her No.1 ranking, was ruthless in speeding through a second set bagel, breaking Brady three times - the final time denying the American from two game points down to seal a dominant display. "If you are so in awe of someone being number one in the world", Vandeweghe said, "then I don't think you're going into a match all focused and all there".

Should Pliskova reach the final in NY she will retain the world number one ranking, but a first grand slam title would be even greater reward for the 25-year-old.

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The American has been enjoying one of her best seasons, which began with a semi-final run at the Australian Open, a quarter-final finish at Wimbledon and a run to the final in Stanford. "Definitely, that match helped me to go through tough moments and this match I was much better".

Nadal also hit form at the US Open to stroll into the quarters for the first time in four years.

With full-on confidence, a No. 22 ranking and "a little bit more variety", as she put it, she heads full-on into a bout with No. 1-ranked Karolina Pliskova. "I think she was kind of nervous, and also, with the shadow, I think she just didn't feel well".

Yesh: Pliskova has struggled at times, but when she is on so few players can beat her. Vandeweghe can match her for power, but Pliskova is much more consistent at the end of the day.

Nadal had dropped the first set in the two previous rounds but he was locked in from the start of his 50th US Open victory, never losing serve and facing just two break points. It's pretty unbelievable where I am now compared to where I was few months ago. The loss eliminates Svitolina in the chase for No. 1. Sloane Stephens will mark her third, and Vandeweghe her fourth. Even if she misses five metres out, she doesn't care, so it's different.

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