As it Happened: Day Four

Men’s Singles

(4) Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) D. Hyeon Chung (Korea) 6-2, 6-3

Two-time tournament semifinalist Juan Martin del Potro made his way into the Round of 16 by dispatching Hyeon Chung in an efficient 81 minutes.
 
Del Potro, enjoying his career-best world No. 3 ranking this week, raised his Cincinnati record to 12-3 by converting 75 percent of his second return points and raining nine aces down on Chung.
 
Chung, who became the first South Korean to reach a Major quarterfinal and semifinal by knocking off Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open, moves to 1-13 against top-10 opposition in the W&S Open.

Milos Raonic (Canada) D. Denis Shapovalov (Canada) 7-6(6), 6-4

Twenty-seven-year-old Milos Raonic ended 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov’s tournament debut en route to earning a spot in the quarterfinals.
 
Raonic is now 14-5 all-time in the tournament and lurks one victory away from his third semifinal and a second in three years.
 
He rode a monster first-set service game to the tiebreak win. Raonic ripped nine aces while winning 82 percent of his first serve points.
 
The proficiency continued in the more comfortable second set when charted three aces and won 93 percent of his first-serve points.
 
“I’m definitely serving more aggressive. I'm just demanding a lot from myself,” he said. “I think I got myself into more points on his serve than he did on mine. It was the thing I struggled with most last time we played, so I definitely made sure to focus on that and sort of try to change that a little bit.”
 
Shapovalov, a 19-year-old who became the youngest to reach an ATP Masters 1000 semifinal and quarterfinal this season in Madrid, said he took an experimental approach to today’s match that will progress his game.
 
“It's tough on days like this when he's feeling it so good on his serve.
 
“I don't like to be a one-dimensional player. I like to try to kind of figure things out. I was just trying to do a bunch of things.
 
“I had my chances. Unfortunately, I blew it a little bit. I rushed a little bit on set point, but it's just experience. Stuff like this happens. I'm only 19. I'm just going to learn from it and move forward,” Shapovalov analyzed.
 

Women’s Singles

(13) Madison Keys (USA) D. (4) Angelique Kerber  2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4

Madison Keys rolled into the tournament quarterfinals for the first time by taking her second victory and breaking a five-match losing slide against current Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.
 
Keys used stellar serves to bounce back from a 2-6 opening set loss in which Kerber won 67 percent of her second return points.
 
Keys was 71 percent on first serves, took 69 percent of her first serve points and ripped nine aces to raise this season’s two-match tournament total to 17. 
 
It was only fitting Keys put the match away by delivering a deep serve to the corner and lacing Kerber’s return for a forehand winner down the line.
 
"I think that today specifically I was just really good at staying focused on a couple of things and not letting my mind wander or getting ahead of myself," Keys said. "I think I just did a really good job when I needed to of making balls that I needed to, rusting my game and knowing, 'okay, I have this forehand, now I can go for it.'"
 
She moves to her fifth quarterfinal this season with her sixth victory against a world top-five.

Elise Mertens (Germany) D. (3) Sloane Stephens (USA) 7-6(8), 6-2

Twenty-two-year-old Elise Mertens continued her impactful tournament debut by advancing to her third straight and seventh quarterfinal this season with a victory in her first clash with world No. 3 Sloane Stephens.
 
Following the tight first set, Mertens reared back and delivered three of her seven matches in a second set in which she won 71 percent of her first serve points. 
 
“If you play against the top-10 players a bit more, you know the level a bit more. “I’m here and I’m really happy,” Mertens said after notching her second victory against a world top-five and 75th career main draw victory.
 
Mertens is now 8-1 against opponents playing in their home country this season. Three of those triumphs were earned against Americans.
 
Stephens, last year’s tournament semifinalist, became the second current or defending Major champion eliminated from the main draw today. Her W&S Open record slips to 13-6.   

Arnya Sabalenka (Belarus) D. (6) Caroline Garcia (France) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

Facing match point and a chance for a fourth career victory over a top-10 opponent, 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka raised her W&S Open mental game.
 
Next, with a little luck, she executed a sequence of shots against world No. 5 Caroline Garcia that ultimately delivered a first trip to the tournament quarterfinals.
 
"I just say to myself, 'Come on. I will put every ball in,'" Sabalenka revealed. "I don't know how (I saved match point) because she did a really great serve. I just played the (return), I don't know, like a baby. She was just going for the next shot, and I was going back, like, 'No, no, no.' Then, I saved it. So, I was lucky a little bit.”
 
Sabalenka, who did not make it out of the tournament’s second qualifying round last season, filed away her sixth quarterfinal berth this season and first since June at Eastbourne.
 
It was the fourth top-10 victory in 90 days for No. 34. The stint includes a momentum builder ahead of No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki in the Montréal Round of 32 along with two successful efforts against No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, one in the Round of 32 here (6-3, 6-3) and another at Eastbourne.
 
“When I beat Wozniacki, I started to believe in myself more and I started to feel comfortable against these players. I don't feel this pressure, like, 'Oh, she's a top player and I'm, like, 30-something.' Now, I am pretty comfortable and I know that I can do it. (These are) unbelievable wins for me,” she said.

 

Thursday Results

 

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