US Open: Kerber through to fourth round, Kvitova beats Pegula

Angelique Kerber beat Ann Li 6-3, 6-4 to cruise into the fourth round of the 2020 US Open, while Petra Kvitova overcame Jessica Pegula despite several unforced errors.

Angelique Kerber converted four break points on Friday and is yet to drop a set at the 2020 US Open.   -  Twitter

Former champion Angelique Kerber cruised into the fourth round of the US Open with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 victory over 20-year-old American Ann Li at the Louis Armstrong Stadium on Friday.

Germany's Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion who won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2016, converted four break points and is yet to drop a set at the tournament while Li, ranked 128 in the world, was let down by 28 unforced errors.

The only real moment of concern for Kerber came late in the second set when she appeared to hurt her ankle chasing a wide shot, after which the 32-year-old walked gingerly between points.

READ | US Open: Osaka survives scare to reach last-16 at Flushing Meadows

But she held serve for a 5-4 lead and broke the American in the final game to move into the fourth round for the first time since her title win.

“She played pretty well,” Kerber said. “It was really a tough forehand to return and she hits the ball really fast and with a lot of spin. “I needed a little bit time to find my rhythm... because I had no idea what really to expect.”

Kerber will next face another American, 28th seed Jennifer Brady, who beat France's Caroline Garcia, conqueror of top seed Karolina Pliskova in the previous round, 6-3 6-3.

- Untidy Kvitova moves onto fourth round at Flushing Meadows -

Meanwhile, Czech Petra Kvitova struggled with unforced errors but still had enough weapons to defeat American Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round of the 2020 US Open.

The two-time Wimbledon champion had 28 unforced errors and five double faults but moved up a gear when it mattered to win her first career meeting with baseline battler Pegula. Sixth seed Kvitova broke the world No. 63 twice in each set and completed the win when Pegula sent a return wide.

“I'm definitely happy that I'm through the first week. Few weeks ago, I didn't have idea that really the US Open will take place. For me, (it) was a miracle that it's really happening. I know that if I didn't come maybe one day I (was) going to regret that I didn't come,” Kvitova said.

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“Second set I was down. It was really a big fight those two or three games which I really had to fight very hard. That probably was the turning point. I tried to go little bit more for the volleys I would say because she really played great from the baseline,” she added.

The US Open is the only Grand Slam event where Kvitova has failed to reach the semifinals and next up for her will be another American in Shelby Rogers, who earlier advanced with a 6-2 6-4 win against compatriot Madison Brengle.

- Martic reaches US Open last-16 despite ragged performance -

Croatian eighth seed Petra Martic survived another sloppy display to see off Grand Slam newcomer Varvara Gracheva 6-3, 6-3 and reach the US Open round-of-16 for the second consecutive year.

While Gracheva continued to pile up the errors, Martic began to settle into the match, holding her serve and breaking the Russian a fourth time to take the opening set.

However, it was more of the same in the second with the pair trading breaks before Martic took control, moving into a 4-1 lead and holding on for an uneven win.

After victories over two players outside the top 100, Martic will have to clean up her play with Grand Slam champions Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber lurking on her side of the draw.

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