Last month’s Lexington tournament finalist Jennifer Brady shocked three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday at the US Open to reach her first career quarter-final at a major.
The American who starred in US college tennis, moved ahead over Germany’s 2016 tournament champion at the fan-free, locked-down event in New York.
Brady, ranked 41st, has now beaten six Top-25 players in 2020.
Brady grabbed the opening set in just 22 minutes, catching Kerber on the back foot, a position from which she never actually recovered.
The second set was a bit patchier for the home player, with Brady losing an early break but steadying in the face of a Kerber fightback.
The German with 12 career trophies who once stood WTA No. 1 saved a match point on her own serve to hold for 3-5.
But two games later, it was all over, with Brady – who began the match 84 minutes earlier with an ace – advancing on her second winning chance from Kerber’s forehand return long.
“I feel great, I’m so happy,” the winner said. “I played a spectacular first set, not many errors.
“I tried not to get ahead of myself, I had some pain in my leg but I really wanted to close it out in two sets.
“I came out knowing what I wanted to do and I stuck to my game plan. I played aggressive when possible and tried to stay ahead in the points.
Yulia Putintseva was broken while serving for the match but recovered to post a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win against Croat eighth seed Petra Martic.
Martic managed to square the match at a set each despite a slow start and put up a last stand in the third before finally taking the loss.
Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Putintseva reaches one of her best showings at a major a decade after she lost the junior event here and threw a tantrum in defeat.
“I had a very good beginning of the match,” the winner said. “Petra wasn’t ready for me to move really quick and not give any free shots.
“I was there from the beginning.”
A second American went through to the last eight as Shelby Rogers saved four match points in a shock win over sixth seed Petra Kvitova 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(6).
The 93rd-ranked Rogers earned her last-gasp victory over the double Wimbledon winner in a nail-biter lasting two and three-quarter hours.
Kvitova had three potential match-winners late in the final set but could not convert.
The set went into a tiebreaker, with Kvitova double-faulting away on her fourth potential match-winner and Rogers seizing her opportunity to finish it off.
“This is one of the biggest days of my career’ she had so many aces and winners – I knew it would be tough,” Rogers said.
“There was a lot of emotion – a roller-coaster. But that’s the beauty of tennis..
I’m so glad I was able to get through this one.
“I had to stay resilient and fight for every point. I stayed with it and didn’t give up.
“The wind was swirling around, there were a lot of variables out there. But I trusted myself and believed I could win the match.”