US Open women – Caroline Wozniacki, Iga Swiatek advance


NEW YORK — Caroline Wozniacki won the battle of US Open comeback queens by rallying to beat Jennifer Brady 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday and move into the fourth round at the season’s final Grand Slam.

Wozniacki and Brady have been the feel-good stories at Flushing Meadows and their storylines converged on a sun-kissed Arthur Ashe Stadium court with the 33-year-old Dane continuing her dazzling return by reaching the last 16.

Top-seeded Iga Swiatek, meanwhile, didn’t hold back against close friend Kaja Juvan, defeating the Slovenian qualifier 6-0, 6-1, in just 49 minutes.

Just weeks ago, it seemed improbable that ex-world No. 1 Wozniacki, back playing competitive tennis after a three-year break to raise a family, would be facing Brady, the 2021 Australian Open finalist who has been sidelined for two years with knee and foot injuries.

But the 28-year-old Brady, just four tournaments into her comeback, and Wozniacki, playing in her third, looked as if they had never been away by treating fans to some quality tennis that at times had the crowd on their feet.

Wozniacki, a two-time US Open finalist, dropped the first set and trailed 2-0 in the second before winning 12 of the final 14 games to take the match. It will be her first trip to the second week of a major since the 2018 French Open and the first time making the second week at the US Open since her semifinal run back in 2016.

Having traded early breaks, the opening set was decided when Wozniacki, serving at 4-5 and trying to extend the set, suddenly found herself in a 0-40 hole and took out her frustration on her racket by repeatedly smashing it onto the court.

Going down a break in the second set to trail 2-0, Wozniacki appeared in deep trouble but dug in to easily win the second set and race to 5-0 lead in the third.

Wozniacki will next face the winner of the Coco GauffElise Mertens match still to be played Friday night.

Swiatek, the defending champion from Poland, has dropped only nine games so far in the tournament — the fewest to this point since Serena Williams (8) in 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Swiatek has handed her opponents 20 6-0 sets on the WTA tour this year, the third-most in a WTA Tour season behind only Williams (25 in 2013) and herself (22 in ’22) since the start of 2000.

“I didn’t like the fact I was kind of winning against my best friend,” Swiatek told the crowd in Louis Armstrong Stadium afterward. “Playing her is like playing a sister. … I don’t have many friends but she’s my best friend.”

Swiatek only dropped five points on serve in the match and did not face a break point in the match.

It was the 56th match win this season for Swiatek, which is tops among players on both the WTA and ATP tours, according to ESPN Stats & Information. She next faces the winner of the match between 20th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko and American Bernarda Pera.

Czech Karolina Muchova, the No. 10 seed who reached the final of this year’s French Open, moved into the fourth round with a 7-6 (0), 6-3 victory over American Taylor Townsend.

Muchova equaled her best showing at Flushing Meadows by pushing the serve-and-volleying Townsend off the net and onto the baseline. The 132nd-ranked Townsend won just 23 of 70 baseline points and had 39 unforced errors.

Muchova came into the US Open with a career-high ranking and momentum after reaching the final of this month’s tune-up event in Cincinnati, losing to American Coco Gauff in straight sets.

She next faces China’s Xinyu Wang, who was a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 winner over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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