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Serena’s gone, Open must continue: Kvitova, Pegula set rematch

NY (AP) Similar to for so a great many other folks, Serena Williams last match at the U.S. Open was must-see TV for players still in the tournament, so Jessica Pegula and Petra Kvitova tuned in from their resort rooms the night time before their victories led off Saturdays schedule and setup a fourth-round showdown.

Needless to say I watched Serena. Im like everybody else, said Pegula, a 28-year-old American who’s seeded No. 8 at Flushing Meadows and beat qualifier Yuan Yue 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-0. You are feeling sort of sad thats how it ends. But, I dont know, like I acquired just a little, like, sentimental, too, watching her, how emotional she was getting.

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic, credited Williams last stand who owns 23 Grand Slam titles fended off five match points before bowing out in three sets against Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday night in what’s likely to be her final contest with offering inspiration.

It had been very special. She didnt desire to leave the court, for certain. That was exactly the same case with me today, actually. I didnt desire to walk out this tournament, therefore i was just there hanging (in), somehow, said Kvitova, who erased deficit after deficit, including a set of match points, to edge Garbie Muguruza 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (12-10).

Thats what Serena showed yesterday evening, said Kvitova, who dropped her racket and covered her face with her ends when what she called a nightmare of a tiebreaker was over. It had been nice to see her yesterday, fighting before end.

Yes, Williams is fully gone, leaving the years last major tournament and, in a few ways, the activity all together without its biggest star and storyline. Still, the show must continue.

So there is Kvitova, undaunted as ever, despite dropping the initial set, despite trailing 5-2 in the 3rd, despite being truly a point from defeat twice at 6-5.

Heres how close that one was: Kvitova won 109 total points, Muguruza 108.

Left everything on the court today, said No. 9 Muguruza, a two-time Slam winner whose departure means the bracket was without six of the very best 10 women prior to the third round was even done.

Two other were on the schedule later Saturday: No. 1 Iga Swiatek no. 6 Aryna Sabalenka.

The night time session in Ashe featured 22-time major champ Rafael Nadal against Richard Gasquet, accompanied by Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins against Caroline Garcia.

It had been likely to be tough for either of these matches to call home up to the type attention Williams drew, or the atmosphere she helped create, during her three-match run in Ashe.

I simply cant believe the era of Serena on the tennis court has ended, Pegula said. After all, its just hard to picture tennis without her.

In other action Saturday, two-time Australian Open champion Viktoria Azarenka was a 6-3, 6-0 winner against Petra Martic; No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz, a 19-year-old Spaniard, defeated unseeded Jenson Brooksby, a 21-year-old Californian, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; No. 7 Cam Norrie beat No. 28 Holger Rune 7-5, 6-4, 6-1 in the mens draw; no. 9 Andrey Rublev got past No. 19 Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (10-7). Norrie and Rublev play one another next.

For Kvitova-Muguruza, Rublev-Shapovalov required the brand new final-set tiebreaker format to look for the winner. The four Grand Slam tournaments decided to adopt a uniform system this season, with the 3rd sets of womens matches and fifth sets of mens decided by way of a first-to-10, win-by-two formula; the U.S. Open used to really have the more traditional first-to-seven setup.

Pegulas domination of her last set made that type of thing entirely unnecessary. She had wasted an opportunity to close out the victory a half-hour earlier when she wasnt in a position to convert her match point, but quickly regrouped.

Pegula started her Grand Slam career by going 3-8. Shes gone 22-7 since, including runs to quarterfinals at the Australian Open each one of the past 2 yrs and the French Open this season.

The 28-year-old American, whose parents own the NFLs Buffalo Bills and NHLs Buffalo Sabres, arrived to Saturday having an 0-2 record in third-round matches at Flushing Meadows, including a loss to Kvitova in 2020.

Pegula gets another shot at her Monday.

Petra is indeed hard to play. Personally i think like when shes on, she blows you off the court. And sometimes she could be off. .. Shes a fighter. When it clicks, its very hard, Pegula said, then was sure to include: I believe Im a far greater player now than I was when I played her last time.

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More AP coverage of U.S. Open tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/us-open-tennis-championships and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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