|Detail of building near Morningside Heights, New York City|
Consider the personalities involved. No one gets down on herself quite like Kerber, and few can choke big matches away quite like the Spaniard. The final set, postponed after a break--the extreme heat permitted the players to take a ten-minute rest--was so physical in nature that I think I burned a few hundred calories just watching it. Kerber looked like she was going to drop. Yet still, I thought she would win because I didn't think Suarez Navarro had the mental toughness to close.
But she did. She also did some fine, and very tricky, serving. Kerber, gathering all the strength she could, broke Suarez Navarro at love when the Spanish player served for the match at 5-4. "There it is," I thought. "The end has come for Carla." But the next thing I knew, the players were in a tiebreak, and--after working so hard to keep things even--Kerber blinked. Repeatedly. The final insult came when the German's superior forehand up the line fired past the baseline on match point.
They played for 2 hours and 41 minutes and, between them, they made 97 unforced errors. They also hit 75 winners, with 45 of those coming off of Suarez Navarro's racket. Suarez Navarro's celebration was kind of intense. However, this was her first time to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, and her next opponent will be Serena Williams, so why not?
Williams had a fight on her hands in her first set against Stephens. She won that fight 6-4, then won the second set 6-1. In the end, it was a routine win for Williams, though if Stephens had kept up her first set mode of play, it would certainly have been more interesting. More interesting, yes--but I don't think the result would have been different.