Images from Day 5 of the US Open in New York on Friday.
Sharapova enters fourth round
Maria Sharapova's mix of grit and power were enough to see off American teenager Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-2 in the third round of the US Open on Friday.
Sharapova, who made her competitive comeback in April after a 15-month ban following a positive test for meldonium, battled through the first two rounds and it seemed that she would also struggle against the 18-year-old Kenin.
Hitting winners and unforced errors in almost equal measure in the opening set, the former world number one however, dug deep to take the advantage.
Kenin's tank was empty in the second set and Sharapova, who next faces Latvian 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova, opened up a 3-0 lead and ended the contest on the first match point when the American sent a backhand wide.
"We had never faced each other and she came out having nothing to lose and it's always dangerous so I'm happy I went through," said Sharapova, who won her only US Open title in 2006.
Sporting a leather-collared black dress encrusted with crystal, Sharapova made a rock star entrance on a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium to close the night session.
However, she made nine unforced errors in the first three games, which continued throughout the first set but she broke in the 12th game when Kenin could not retrieve a powerful flat forehand and she then raced through the second set.
It was a relief for Sharapova after she had to endure two three-set matches to reach the third round.
"Coming into this match playing two three-setters, I'm just happy I got it done in two. Give my body a little bit of a break," she said.
"I took a day off yesterday just as a prevention.
"I did not see the ball too well at the beginning of the match, I wasn't getting the shots that I wanted ... but got better as the match went on."
Muguruza destroys Rybarikova
Garbine Muguruza cantered into the US Open fourth round with a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova on Friday to set up an exciting clash with Petra Kvitova.
The Spanish third seed, who claimed her second grand slam at Wimbledon this year, barely broke sweat on Louis Armstrong Stadium against the 31st seed.
Muguruza, one of the pre-tournament favourites, dropped serve once, the only glitch in a neat display.
Kvitova returns to big stage
Petra Kvitova was back on the US Open’s big stage on Friday and delivered a sizzling performance by blowing past 18th-seed Caroline Garcia 6-0, 6-4 to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
Kvitova, playing in just her eighth tournament since missing five months of action after being stabbed in the hand last December, finished off the Frenchwoman within 73 minutes in Arthur Ashe Stadium, closing out the contest in style with a fine ace.
“It means a lot, I really appreciate it that this time I could play again on the big stages,” said Kvitova. “After everything that I have been through, it is a very happy moment for me.”
The match had looked a tricky one for Kvitova having split their four previous career meetings, with Garcia taking the last two. However, the 13th-seeded Czech was in complete control from the start, never surrendering a break point the entire match.
It has been slow but steady progress for the double Wimbledon champion, after sustaining what looked to be career-threatening injuries when she was attacked by an intruder in her home late last year.
After a scrappy 7-5, 7-5 win over former world number one Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in her opener on Monday, Kvitova has played very much like a Grand Slam champion, crushing another Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-2.
”It’s much more easier to come back and play, definitely, compared to first tournaments after my comeback,“ she said. ”It’s much more easier for me to feel more normal than before.
Venus sails into fourth round
Venus Williams continued her US Open campaign when the American beat Greek Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to advance to the fourth round.
Roared on by the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, Williams, who won two titles at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001, overcame serve problems to set up a meeting with gritty Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
She has now reached the last 16 in every grand slam this year, a feat she last achieved in 2010.
The 37-year-old managed the only break in the opening set to take control of the match.
After a couple of exchanges of breaks in the second, Williams stole her opponent's serve again to close it out on the first match point when Sakkari's forehand sailed long.
"I'm playing at home, I've got a lot to accomplish here, and I'm happy to get the win," she said, before adding she was expecting a similar game style from Suarez Navarro as Sakkari.
"She's feisty. I know I have to come out, play well, have you all (the crowd) behind me and get a win."
The question on everyone lips, however, was whether her younger sister Serena, the 23-times grand slam champion, had given birth to her first child.
Venus refused to answer the question and a reporter was cut off by a moderator after she asked several questions related to the expected birth.
Cilic downed by Schwartzman
Former champion Marin Cilic’s US Open campaign ended on Friday when the Croatian fifth seed was beaten 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 by Argentine counter-puncher Diego Schwartzman in the third round.
Cilic, who skipped the US Open warm-up tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati due to injury, hit 80 unforced errors in an untidy display on Grandstand three years after he lifted the trophy at Flushing Meadows.
Schwartzman, seeded 29th after reaching the Rogers Cup final in Montreal, was overwhelmed in the opening set before finding his range to frustrate Cilic.
In a bottom half of a draw without a grand slam finalist and where American John Isner is now the highest seed at number 10, Schwartzman will take on either France’s Lucas Pouille or Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin for a quarter-final spot.