US Open: Moms Serena, Azarenka, Pironkova continue their march

Victoria Azarenka and Tsvetana Pironkova join Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the US Open. Azarenka beat Muchova 5-7, 6-1, 6-4; Pironkova beat Cornet 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3.

Victoria Azarenka returns to Karolina Muchova during the fourth round of the US Open on Monday.   -  AP

Victoria Azarenka had a huge smile on her face after reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in more than four years by beating Czech Karolina Muchova 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday.

The former world number one had to rally from a set down on Louis Armstrong Stadium to set up a last eight date with Elise Mertens, her first at that stage of a major since she lost to Angelique Kerber at the 2016 Australian Open.

READ: Medvedev juggernaut continues at US Open with Tiafoe demolition

The 31-year-old, twice a champion at Melbourne Park and twice a finalist at Flushing Meadows, has struggled to reach the heights she enjoyed before she took time out to have her son, Leo.

Azarenka won her first title in four years at the Western & Southern Open in the lead up to the U.S. Open, however, and will head into the quarterfinals with a 9-2 record this year.

Tsvetana Pironkova, of Bulgaria, reacts during the match against Alize Cornet of France.   -  AP

 

Pironkova downs Cornet

Unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova has not seen her son in two weeks and the tearful Bulgarian dedicated her astonishing US Open run to her two-year-old after she surprised the field by advancing to her first ever quarter-final in New York on Monday.

On Monday, Pironkova battled through fatigue in a near-three hour contest to beat France's Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 in the last-16 and then choked back tears while talking about her son Alexander.

READ: Serena battles past Sakkari to reach quarters

With Serena Williams also through, the US Open has three mothers in the last eight.

“That's remarkable, I'm so proud of the ladies,” Azarenka said. “I hope it's inspiring others to keep going for their dreams and not just define themselves as mothers.”

Mertens stuns Kenin

Elise Mertens produced a near-flawless display to defeat American Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-3 and sail into the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

The 16th seeded Belgian will next face former world number one Victoria Azarenka

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