Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Top Seeds Pliskova, Nadal Advance in U.S. Open

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Top Seeds Pliskova, Nadal Advance in U.S. Open

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * Karolina Pliskova can still win the U.S. Open and keep her No. 1 ranking, thanks to a big comeback Saturday.

Pliskova fought off a match point in the second set and rallied to beat No. 27 Zhang Shuai of China 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round.

The runner-up last year needs to at least return to the final for a chance to remain atop the rankings when the year's final major tournament is over, and it appeared for a while that the Czech wouldn't get close.

But she stayed alive while trailing 4-5 in the second set, then pulled out the third after receiving treatment from a trainer on her right forearm between sets.

"Last Grand Slam of the season and knowing you played fine last year, you just want to play that good again," Pliskova said. "I don't feel like I'm playing that good again, but I'm still in the draw, actually, so I'm not going to be that sad."

The top seed on the men's side also had to rally after dropping the first set. With the roof closed at Arthur Ashe Stadium because of rain, Rafael Nadal started to find the range with his punishing shots in the second set and beat Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the fourth round.

Roger Federer followed Nadal onto Ashe and beat No. 31 Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 late Saturday. The five-time U.S. Open champion had an easier time in his third match of the tournament. He had played consecutive five-setters to open a major tournament for the first time.

Besides Pliskova, Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina are the other women who can still get to No. 1. Svitolina advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over American Shelby Rogers, who won the longest women's match in U.S. Open history on Thursday when she beat No. 25 Daria Gavrilova in 3 hours, 33 minutes.

This one went 1:33, ending when Svitolina's forehand hit the tape and barely fell over the net onto Rogers' side.

Pliskova, who fell to Angelique Kerber in the 2016 final, would need to win the tournament if Muguruza reaches the semifinals and loses. …

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