Sabalenka shocks Kvitova to reach US Open fourth round

AFP
Eyeing an upset: Aryna Sabalenka defeats fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova to reach US Open fourth round on Saturday. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)

Eyeing an upset: Aryna Sabalenka defeats fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova to reach US Open fourth round on Saturday

Eyeing an upset: Aryna Sabalenka defeats fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova to reach US Open fourth round on Saturday. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)

New York (AFP) - Aryna Sabalenka's red-hot hardcourt form continued on Saturday as she knocked two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova out of the third round of the US Open.

Sabalenka, a 20-year-old from Belarus, warmed up for Flushing Meadows with a first career title at New Haven and came into the tournament at a career-high world ranking of 20th.

Seeded 26th, she beat fifth-seeded Czech Kvitova 7-5, 6-1, belting 21 winners in a match lasting 1 hour 25 minutes.

Sabalenka said her solid showing in the build-up to the US Open had her dreaming of a major breakthrough, although having already surpassed her previous best Grand Slam performance she's not putting added pressure on herself.

"Actually before the Grand Slam, I was thinking like, wow, I made a final, I made my first title. I have some power for a Grand Slam. I was thinking like that.

"In the first match, I felt pretty good, physically, mentally. I thought, OK, we will see. I don't know -- I'm just enjoying right now."

Kvitova's exit means just three of the top 10 women's seeds made it into the fourth round.

Sabalenka, seeded 26th, will face Naomi Osaka, for a quarter-final spot in a battle of big-hitting 20-year-olds.

Japan's Osaka, seeded 20th, railroaded Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-0, 6-0.

"I know she's quite an aggressive player. She puts a lot of balls in, quite hard," Sabalenka said. "I will just come on the court and just fight, fight for every point. It's nothing to lose for me."

What to Read Next