WTA US Open: Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty remain on title course


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WTA US Open: Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty remain on title course

The 3rd seed Karolina Pliskova is through to the fourth round at the US Open for the fourth straight year, ousting Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes. It was a high-quality clash with more winners than unforced errors from both players, with Pliskova scoring seven breaks from ten chances and getting broken five times to cross the finish line first and keep world no.1 dreams alive.

The Czech was off to a flying start, delivering three breaks in the opener for a 6-1 in less than 30 minutes, determined to stay on the same level in set number two as well. Jabeur had other plans, though, hitting one winner after another and overcoming a 2-0 deficit to take five straight games and move closer to a decider.

Pliskova fended off two set points in game eight and broke at love a few minutes later, unable to use that momentum as Ons grabbed another break in game ten for a 6-4, hoping for the same scenario in the final set. There, Pliskova raised her level again to gain a 4-1 advantage, losing serve once after that and saving a couple of break chances in game eight before holding at love at 5-4 to advance into the next round.

The 2nd seed Ashleigh Barty took down Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 27 minutes, returning to the last 16 in New York for the second straight year. Ashleigh was the one who tamed her shots more efficiently, losing serve once and scoring four on the other side after some 40 unforced errors from the Greek who couldn't follow the rival's pace despite a solid effort in the first set.

Barty drew first blood in the third game, extending the advantage to 4-2 after fending off a break point in game six before Maria pulled the break back in game eight to level the score at 4-4. After losing three straight games, Ashleigh didn't put a foot wrong in the next three, rattling off 12 of the last 14 points to grab the set with a break 11 for a massive momentum.

In set number two, the Aussie claimed five of the final six games to seal the deal in straight sets, breaking Sakkari's resistance and staying on the title course. World no. 18 Qiang Wang is through to the fourth round at Majors for the first time, beating Fiona Ferro 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 40 minutes.

It was a battle of the small margins, with five breaks of serve in total and three for the Chinese who had the upper hand from the baseline after hitting 26 winners and 24 unforced errors, doing enough to claim victory in straight sets.

Almost nothing could have separated them in the opening set and it was Wang who claimed the breaker 7-1 with three mini-breaks, gathering boost and delivering two breaks in set number two, moving over the top with commanding holds in games seven and nine to move into the last 16.