US Open: Top-ranked Pliskova races into quarters

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic beat American Jennifer Brady 6-1, 6-0.

Pliskova will next face either 37th-ranked compatriot Lucie Safarova or US 20th seed CoCo Vandeweghe in the next round.   -  AP


Karolina Pliskova blew her early round US Open struggles away as she produced her most convincing display of the tournament so far to thrash Jennifer Brady and reach the quarterfinals.

Pliskova needed to dig deep against Nicole Gibbs in the second round and had to save a match point against Zhang Shuai last time out, but she was rarely troubled by Brady, cruising to a 6-1 6-0 triumph on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

It was a welcome return to top form for Pliskova, who kept her hopes of remaining world number one alive with the victory.

After Garbine Muguruza's exit at the hands of Petra Kvitova on Sunday, Pliskova must reach the final to guarantee top spot.

On Monday's form, she will be tough to stop as Brady's first appearance in the US Open main draw came to a juddering halt.

Pliskova's shot selection was just too good for her American opponent, deep groundstrokes enabling the Czech to approach the net and execute some deft drop shots and leaving Brady frustrated behind the baseline.

It only took 25 minutes for Pliskova to take the opening set as errors made an unwelcome early appearance in Brady's game.

Eventually the home crowd had something to cheer as Brady got on the board, having lost the first four games of the match, but it was only a brief success as Pliskova fended off two break openings before taking the set.

Stopping the tide proved too difficult for the world number 91 as Pliskova relentlessly raced into the last-eight, subjecting Brady to a bagel in 20 minutes to wrap up victory.

She will likely face a tougher test in the quarters against either Coco Vandeweghe or Lucie Safarova, but Pliskova's confidence should be sky high after such an impressive display.



Keys into quarters

U.S. 15th seed Madison Keys advanced to her first US Open quarterfinal on Monday by defeating Ukraine's fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 7-6 (7/2), 1-6, 6-4. Keys, a 2015 Australian Open semifinalist, will play 418th-ranked Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi on Wednesday to decide a semifinal berth.

The loss ended Svitolina's hope to become World No. 1 next week, a spot that will go to Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain unless current No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, last year's US Open runner-up, reaches this year's final.

Kanepi won her only match against Keys in 2015 on Madrid clay.

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