Tennis: Pliskova downs Azarenka to reach US Open's last eight

Karolina Pliskova (left) and Victoria Azarenka during their fourth round match of the US Open on Sept 5, 2022. PHOTOS: AFP,EPA-EFE

NEW YORK - Karolina Pliskova downed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in three sets to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open on Monday.

The Czech 22nd seed, a runner up at the 2016 tournament and quarter-finalist on three other occasions, sealed a 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 win on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The 30-year-old will face either Belarusia's sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka in Wednesday's quarter-finals.

Sabalenka reached the quarter-finals for a second successive year with a three-set comeback win over Danielle Collins.

The world No .6 from Belarus triumphed 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 over her American opponent whom she has now beaten in New York three times in the last five editions.

Sabalenka's 2022 bid looked in danger on Monday when she needed a medical time-out to treat a leg injury.

However, she eventually fought back from a set down against the Australian Open runner-up and sealed victory on the back of a double break in the decider.

“I just love the court, I love the crowd,” she said at Arthur Ashe Stadium, despite the crowd being firmly in home hope Collins' favour.

“Even if you guys support her, which is expected, I love this place and I want to play here as much as I can.”

Sabalenka is battle tested going into the quarter-finals. She clawed her way back from a set and 5-1 down against Kaia Kanepi in the second round, saving two match points in the process.

“When you come back from that kind of score you know that nothing can hurt you,” she said.

“You go into the next match and know that you will fight for it no matter what.”

Looking ahead to her clash against the big-serving Pliskova, with whom she shares a 2-2 record in their their four head-to-head meetings, she said maintaining her composure if the match is not breaking her way will be key to victory.

“Right now I really expect great level from her,” she added. “It’s going to be tough. It’s a tough fight.” AFP

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