US Open PIX: Andreescu, Sakkari storm into 4th round

Images from Day 6 of the 2021 US Open in New York on Saturday.

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu fired off 21 winners to make quick work of Belgian Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-2 in the third round of the tournament on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Canadian won nearly all of her first-serve points in the first set on Louis Armstrong Stadium with just four unforced errors, two years after she hoisted the trophy.

Andreescu never let Minnen get a foothold in the second set, when she fended off three break points and excelled from the baseline to extend her unbeaten streak at Flushing Meadows to 10-0 in a little over an hour.

The tournament has been a remarkable return to form for the sixth seed, who lost in her first match at Cincinnati last month and failed to get beyond the first round at Wimbledon or Roland Garros.

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Andreescu, who missed the 2020 season due to injury and the challenges of playing in the COVID-19 pandemic. “It hasn’t been an easy past couple of months.”

It was the latest triumph for Canada after 21-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime outlasted Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set thriller and Leylah Fernandez stunned four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka on Saturday, setting up a fourth-round clash against 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

“I’m super grateful to be a part of that group,” said Andreescu.

Sakkari knocks out Kvitova

Greek Maria Sakkari broke down twice Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova’s defences 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round of the US Open.

The 17th seed relied on her powerful serve once again, winning all but one of her first-serve points in the first set and firing off nine aces in the match as she never conceded a break on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

In the second set, her Czech opponent dropped serve in the first game but refused to go quietly, fending off seven break points – including two in the third game to hold her serve – but could not match the power of Sakkari, who struck 13 winners.

“I think my serve was probably my biggest weapon today and of course playing in front of this crowd was unbelievable,” said Sakkari, who lost to Serena Williams in a fourth-round, three-set thriller a year ago in front of empty stands.

She next faces sixth seed and 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada.

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