No. 1 Iga Swiatek tops 'best friend' Kaja Juvan in easy win

League: Tennis

Posted on: 02 Sep, 2023 at 04:02 AM

Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek moved into the fourth round of the U.S. Open, defeating her close friend Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 6-0, 6-1 on Friday in New York.

For Swiatek, the 49-minute match was her 10th straight win at the tournament. The defending champion, she is seeking her fifth Grand Slam title after winning the French Open earlier this year.

The 22-year-old from Poland was dominant on Friday, tallying 21 winners against five unforced errors. Juvan, on the other hand, hit just two winners and compiled 12 unforced errors.

"I didn't like the fact I was kind of winning against my best friend," Swiatek said in an on-court interview after the match. "Playing her is like playing a sister. ... I don't have many friends but she's my best friend."

Swiatek became the youngest woman to reach the Round of 16 for the third consecutive time since Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki reached four straight from 2008 to 2011.

Next on the docket for Swiatek, with a berth in the quarterfinals on the line, is No. 20 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 winner over American Bernarda Pera.

Wozniacki continued her comeback from a three-year absence by defeating the United States' Jennifer Brady 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. A U.S. Open finalist in 2009 and 2014 and the Australian Open champion in 2018, Wozniacki gave birth to children in 2021 and 2022.

"To actually be here at Arthur Ashe Stadium with all of you supporting me is a dream come true," Wozniacki said.

She earned a fourth-round matchup with Coco Gauff, the sixth-seeded U.S. player who rallied past 32nd-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium 3-6, 6-3, 6-0. Mertens led 3-2 in the second set before losing the next 10 games.

Two points from the win, Gauff tumbled to the court while chasing a shot. She quickly jumped back up, then won the next point in spectacular style with a drop shot at the net after a great save in the backcourt.

"After I lost the first set, I told myself there is still a lot of game left and a lot of the match to play," Gauff said postmatch. She added, "If anything, (winning) the three-setters shows everyone I'm not going down without a fight.

Gauff, 19, won two U.S. Open warmup tournaments last month, prevailing in Washington and Cincinnati. She will be opposing Wozniacki, 33, for the first time.

"(It's) a matchup I never thought I would have to play," Gauff said. "If really excited. ... Is it really a battle of generations. She's still fit and going strong. I think it's going to be an exciting match."

In other action, No. 10 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic eliminated another American, Taylor Townsend, 7-6 (0), 6-3.

"The match was kind of what I expected. Tricky one," Muchova said. "Taylor, I think, played really, really great from the start. The first set was very tough, very close. I'm glad I refocused very well for the tiebreak, and I think I played well there. As well, I felt start of the second set it was a little bit more in my hands."

Waiting for Muchova in the fourth is unseeded Xinyu Wang of China, who defeated Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Wang converted five of 10 break opportunities and staved off nine of 11 on her serve.

In night-time action, No. 15 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland beat China's Lin Zhu 7-6 (1), 2-6, 6-3, and No. 30 Sorana Cirstea of Romania ousted No. 4
Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4.

--Field Level Media