NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Simona Halep overcame a thigh injury, baking heat and finally big-hitting German Sabine Lisicki, while Donald Young's US Open fairytale ended with a fourth-round loss to Stan Wawrinka on Monday.
It was Labour Day in the United States but it was certainly no holiday for Halep who had to work for her spot in the last eight, needing two hours and 38 minutes under a broiling sun to dispatch Lisicki 6-7(6) 7-5 6-2 and reach the US Open quarter-finals for the first time.
Waiting for the second seeded Romanian in the last eight is two-time U.S. Open finalist Victoria Azarenka, who advanced with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 win over American Varvara Lepchenko.
The 26-year-old Young, regarded during his teenage years as the next great American men's player, had advanced to the fourth round with two epic wins from two sets down but ran out of comeback magic against the fifth seed Swiss, surrendering 6-4 1-6 6-3 6-4. "I think now he (Young) is more the player that he is. He's playing his game," said Wawrinka.
"He's trying to play the way he wants. He's trying to do things. He's coming on the court knowing what he's going to try to do.
"Now we have to see how he's going to go from here also because we all know that in general when he's playing at home he's playing better than the rest of the tournaments." While Wawrinka escaped the heat unscathed, it was a battle of wills between Halep and Lisicki to see who would be last woman standing.
After dropping the opening set Halep called out the trainer to have treatment on her left thigh and at the end of the second the players left the court when the heat rule came into affect, but through it all the exhausted Romanian was able to gut out a victory.
Her left leg heavily strapped, a wounded Halep sensed her opportunity when Lisicki began to cramp in the third set and stretch between every point.
Halep, who converted 10 of 11 break chances, claimed the most crucial one to go ahead 4-2 and then held serve to break her 24th seeded opponent again and clinch a spot in the last eight at Flushing Meadows.
Italy's Flavia Pennetta returned to the quarter-finals for the fourth consecutive year easing past 2011 U.S. Open winner Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-4 6-4.