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Alex de Minaur surges into US Open quarter-final with straight-sets win

De Minaur will have his work cut out against Thiem, the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Thiem defeated Nadal at this year’s Australian Open and took Djokovic to five sets in the final.

So with the stakes a little higher, De Minaur’s opening set unfolded like the first round of a prize fight with both players probing for openings and neither managing a single break chance.

In the tiebreak it was Pospisil who had looked poised to land the first blow by going up 6-2, but De Minaur sweept the next six points to grab a 1-0 lead.

“That first set was crucial,” said De Minaur. “I think it was just a couple of things going his way and then my way.

“I went down 6-2 but I don’t think I played a bad tiebreak, I was just unlucky here and there.

“I just tried to stay calm, do my thing.”

After that effort the 94th ranked Canadian could only muster token resistance, with De Minaur securing an early break in the second and third sets and never allowing Pospisil a chance to get back into the match.

The top ranked player left in the tournament, Dominic Thiem, returns serve against young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round match.

The top ranked player left in the tournament, Dominic Thiem, returns serve against young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round match.Credit:AP

Another who will be looking to capitalise on the Big Three’s absence, Russian Daniil Medvedev, also progressed to the quarter-finals, defeating popular American Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-1, 6-0. Medvedev now plays compatriot Andrey Rublev.

In the women’s draw, Serena Williams advanced to the quarter-finals after a gritty, tension-soaked 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3 win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner came up short in the second-set tiebreaker, with her power serve abandoning her when she needed it most.

Sakkari carried the momentum into the third set as she started the decider with a break.

But the 38-year-old American once again showed the battling instincts that has made her one of the all-time greats. She broke back to level for 2-2 as Sakkari’s forehand started to misfire.

No.3 seed Serena Williams advances.

No.3 seed Serena Williams advances.Credit:Getty Images

The six-time Flushing Meadows champion marked her 100th win on Arthur Ashe Stadium with a roar that could be heard all around the grounds.

“I just kept fighting,” said Williams, who lost to Sakkari two weeks ago in the Western & Southern Open. “She was doing so well she was being so aggressive.

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“I knew I needed to do the same thing.”

She next takes on Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.

Williams is now the highest-ranked woman remaining in the tournament after the Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin lost her fourth-round match to Germany’s Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-3.

Reuters, SMH

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