US Open Day 8: Serena Williams gets revenge, No. 2 Sofia Kenin bounced

·4 min read
Serena Williams returns a shot to Maria Sakkari.
Serena Williams advanced to the quarterfinals Monday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The 2020 US Open returned to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with no fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a roundup of the eighth day of action.

Serena Williams gets revenge on Maria Sakkari to advance

Serena Williams came into Monday’s contest with something to prove. After losing to Maria Sakkari at the Western & Southern Open in August, Williams was hungry for a win.

She pulled it off, defeating Sakkari in three sets Monday. Williams won the first set 6-3, but lost a tie break to Sakkari in the second set. With the match on the line, Williams rose to the occasion, beating Sakkari 6-3 in the third set.

It marked Williams’ 100th win at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

With the win, Williams, 38, advances to the quarterfinals. She’ll take on Tsvetana Pironkova in the next round.

No. 2 Sofia Kenin falls in straight-sets stunner

While Williams advanced, another American saw her dreams of her first US Open title dashed.

No. 16 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium delivered a dominant 6-3, 6-3 win Monday night to send No. 2 seed Sofia Kenin home early.

The 21-year old Kenin won the Australian Open in February and had her eyes on her second Grand Slam title as one of the favorites at the US Open. She will instead set her sights on the French Open, which starts Sept. 27 after its usual spring schedule was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I cried after already,” Kenin told reporters as she confirmed her Roland Garros plans. “Just trying to hold it back right now. Not happy about that match.”

Bertens advances to the quarterfinals, where she’ll face unseeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

No. 2 Dominic Thiem cruises into quarterfinals

With Sunday’s unceremonious exit by Novak Djokovic, the door to a first Grand Slam victory blew wide open for Dominic Thiem. The No. 2 seed at the US Open looked like the new favorite on Monday in a straight-sets win over No. 15 seed Félix Auger-Aliassime.

The Austrian needed a tiebreak to secure the first set. But he was dominant the rest of the match, cruising to a 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-1 win to advance to the quarterfinals.

Thiem has never reached the US Open semifinals. He’ll face No. 21 seed Alex de Minaur next with a chance to do so. Thiem has made French Open final twice and advanced the Australian Open final in February, where he lost to Djokovic in five sets.

Alex de Minaur advances to quarterfinals

Australian Alex de Minaur is moving to the quarterfinals. de Minaur defeated Vasek Pospisil in three sets Monday.

After a tense first set, which de Minaur won during a tie break, he seemed to settle in. de Minaur took the second set from Pospisil 6-3, and the third set 6-2.

With the win, de Minaur advances to the quarterfinals. He’ll take on the winner of Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dominic Thiem in the next round.

Tsvetana Pironkova moves on to quarterfinals

Tsvetana Pironkova isn’t playing like she’s been away from the sport for three years. Pironkova — who stepped away from tennis in 2017 to start a family — showed her skills are still sharp with a won over Alizé Cornet on Monday.

Pironkova, 32, needed three sets to take down Cornet. Pironkova looked strong early, taking the first set 6-4. Cornet charged back in the second set, however, taking the game to a third set. Pironkova came away victorious in the final set, winning 6-3.

Pironkova will look to continue her comeback with a quarterfinals match against Serena Williams. Pironkova lost her only two matches against Williams, but the two haven’t played each other since 2015.

This story will be updated.