Caroline Wozniacki fought back from a set down to defeat Jennifer Brady and continue her dream run at the US Open, while defending champion Iga Swiatek served up a 20th bagel of the year as she thrashed her “best friend” Kaja Juvan.
The 33-year-old two-time finalist in New York continued to extend her impressive comeback at Flushing Meadows as she rallied from a set down to reach the last 16 with a 4-6 6-3 6-1 victory over American Brady.
“As a competitor and an athlete you always want to win and you have to believe in yourself, but playing here on Arthur Ashe again is a dream come true,” said Wozniacki, who is back having retired from the game more than three years ago and has had two children.
“When I retired three years ago and having had two kids, I thought I’d just be here watching. What an honour this is.”
Wozniacki will play sixth seed Coco Gauff next after the American bounced back from a set down and cruised through the decider, beating Belgian 32nd-seed Elise Mertens 3-6 6-3 6-0.
Gauff, 19, winner in Washington and Cincinnati already this summer, has now won nine times at Grand Slams after losing the first set and she has also won 14 of her last 15 matches.
It will be a first-time meeting between Gauff and Wozniacki, with a US Open quarter-final spot on the line.
“It’s a match-up I never thought I would have to play. When she retired I remember I might have said in an interview to ‘I wish I would have played her’ so that wish came true so I’m really excited,” said Gauff. “Is it really a battle of generations? She’s still fit and going strong.”
Speaking on Sky Sports, Tim Henman said: “There was no panic. Wozniacki knew she wasn’t playing her best but she slowly began to get the momentum. She was relentless and kept building on that in the third set.”
Swiatek grew up with Juvan through the junior ranks and the two dined together earlier this week but for 49 minutes in Louis Armstrong Stadium the top-seeded Pole had no choice but to put their friendship on hold while she got down to business with a 6-0 6-1 shellacking.
But with friends like Swiatek, who needs enemies? The Pole surrendered just eight points as she raced away with the first set to love in only 33 minutes.
Swiatek opens up the bagel factory in New York
Iga Swiatek has won 8 Grand Slam sets 6-0 in 2023. In the last 30 years, only Serena Williams in 2013 had more in a single season (13).
Swiatek equals Victoria Azarenka in 2012 and Martina Hingis in 2001 for such tallies.
Juvan did at least avoid the dreaded ‘double-bagel’, finally getting a game on the board 40 minutes into the match for 3-1 in the second and raising her arms aloft in mock triumph to the acclaim of the crowd.
But it was only delaying the inevitable, with Swiatek wrapping up another clinical, statement victory – she beat Rebecca Peterson by the same scoreline in the first round – in well under an hour.
“I didn’t like that I was winning with my best friend but I knew I had to be focused and not think about that,” said the 22-year-old.
“It’s like playing your sister. I don’t have many friends and she’s my best friend so that was the toughest, for sure.”
Despite all her success, Swiatek admitted she was still coming to terms with her lofty position atop the women’s game.
“Honestly, I kind of have to learn how to find more joy in that,” she said. “I talked to Roger (Federer) about that last week and the best way to approach it is really embrace it and really be proud and happy with your results.”
Up next for Swiatek will be Latvian 20th seed Jelena Ostapenko, a 4-6 6-3 6-3 winner over American Bernarda Pera.
There was more disappointment for the home crowd after Czech 10th seed Karolina Muchova beat the popular Taylor Townsend, 7-6 (7-0) 6-3.
Swiss Olympic champion Belinda Bencic beat Zhu Lin of China to advance to the fourth round 7-6 (7-1) 2-6 6-3.
Bencic, the 15th seed, will face Sorana Cirstea after the Romanian upset former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 in two hours and 48 minutes.
Sky welcomes tennis back to its channels, adding to the existing sports portfolio and reaffirming the broadcaster as the home of live sport in the UK & Ireland.
Sky Sports’ new mixed reality studio features multiple custom-built LED screens, integrated light ‘sabres’, and an open canopy roof, making the space alive with colour and energy to reflect the vibrancy of the last Grand Slam of the year.
With integrated AR capabilities, a versatile LED floor, and a ‘fourth wall’, the viewer will be transported to the Arthur Ashe Stadium in a 360-degree immersive environment. Our tennis experts will take the viewer into the eyes of the players for expert Hawkeye analysis and insight as the tournament progresses.
The technology involved allows us to add an entirely new dimension and will bring customers closer to the action.
Highlights of matches will be available across Sky Sports TV and our social media platforms.
Video highlights will also be available on the Sky Sports website and app, where there will also be a daily live text commentary on the Sky Sports website and app, as well as live scores, reports, analysis and features.