NEW YORK          -     Jennifer Brady produced a fearless brand of tennis to topple 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the U.S. Open on Sunday.

Brady appeared firmly in control from the start, opening the campaign with an ace and utilising her monster forehand to break down Kerber’s defence. A double fault followed by two errors from Kerber handed Brady a break for a 2-1 lead, with the American eventually closing out the set in 22 minutes. A medical timeout to get her left thigh taped midway through the second set failed to distract Brady as she fended off two break points to hold her serve for a 5-3 lead.  “(Kerber is) a great player, she makes you fight for every point,” said the 25-year-old Brady, who clinched her first WTA title last month. “I came out, I knew what I wanted to do and I’m pretty proud of myself.”

There were times when Tsvetana Pironkova thought she had played her last top-level tennis match after taking a break from the tour in 2017 but the Bulgarian has surprised herself with a run to the last-16 at the U.S. Open without dropping a set. The 32-year-old, who gave birth to son Alexander in 2018, eased past Croatian 18th seed Donna Vekic 6-4 6-1 on Saturday to reach the second week at Flushing Meadows for the second time. “It feels amazing. Of course, unexpected. But just super happy,” Pironkova, a 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalist, told reporters. 

Second seed Dominic Thiem staved off a spirited fightback from Marin Cilic to beat the former champion 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3 on Saturday and reach the fourth round of the US Open.