Serena Williams looks ready for another crack at No.24 next weekend but has a few more matches to get past before she can start to think about erasing the nightmare of last year’s final. The first of those will be against Petra Martic, who is in the US Open fourth round for the first time in her career.
Martic has finally been showing what she can do after a prolonged period without any major or even minor injuries. The Croatian, struck by plenty of rotten luck in the past, now has her best slam performances at three of them all coming in 2019 with the French Open quarter final the pick of the bunch for her. She beat Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets to make it to this stage, 6-3 6-4. With Sevastova always going strong in New York, this was an impressive victory anyway but more so when you consider she was broken just once by the Latvian in the win.
Serena was up against one of the game’s rising stars in Karolina Muchova but did with the Czech in a professional manner, eventually closing out the match 6-3 6-2. “Had to go out there on business, I think I tried to do that with all three matches thus far. It was just different because I know that [Muchova] could play today. I knew what she could do.” she said. Serena hit 20 winners to just 15 unforced errors in a fairly clean performance but may be slightly concerned by a high double fault count of 7.
This one could well be a fascinating affair if Serena is below par with the guile and running of Martic able to make things tough for a struggling opponent. A potential thriller with Ashleigh Barty awaits the winner in the quarter finals, assuming the Australian beats Qiang Wang in her own fourth round match.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets