Putintseva defeated the eighth seed, Petra Martic, in a tough three-set battle in the round of 16, where she actually won one less point than Martic. This is a quirk of the tennis scoring format that can sometimes seem strange to casual viewers, but the explanation is usually found in serving form. Although Putintseva served well, Martic was able to exercise pressure on her service games, pushing many of them to deuce.
It’s hard to say what Putintseva can improve in her service game, especially after landing 70 percent of her first serves during her last match. But it will take something special if she’s going to keep Brady at bay.
Arthur Ashe Stadium | 1 p.m.
Borna Coric vs. Alexander Zverev
Coric, the 27th seed, is a defensive baseliner. In reaching his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal, he has epitomized what it means to grind out a match and win by refusing to be put away. In his five-set upset over the fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round, Coric faced six match points, and through a mixture of sheer will and luck, was able to overcome that to win a fifth-set tiebreaker.
In any other year, his late-night heroics would be filed away as another rowdy moment of magic under the lights in Flushing. This year, without the baying New York City fans, the match felt muted as it finished after four hours and 36 minutes. But, Coric clearly did not need the adoring fans to take out Jordan Thompson in straight sets in his next match. Tonight, he’ll need to try to unseat another promising young star in Zverev, the fifth seed.
Zverev reached his first Grand Slam semifinal this year at the Australian Open, and has looked to be coasting back to that same achievement. One of the few criticisms of his game in the past two years has been his unreliable serving. But in his fourth-round matchup against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, he used his serve like a bulldozer, with 18 aces and only two double faults to win the match in one hour and 34 minutes.
Zverev, the 2018 ATP Tour finals winner, has long been lauded as a part of the generation that can take up the mantle after Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal retire. If he keeps serving this way, and doesn’t allow himself to get mired in long matches, he may be able to prove this year that it’s only a matter of time.