The US Open is just recovering from its famous “black Friday” where the tournament lost, in quick succession in the 3rd round, Naomi Osaka, the world n ° 2, in full burnout (beaten by the young Canadian Leylah Fernandez), Stefanos Tsitsipas, the nº3, taken out by the young Spanish talent of 18 years, Carlos Alcaraz, and Andrey Rublev, the nº7, also trapped in straight sets by the robust American Frances Tiafoe.

Matchday 5 ended at 2:15 a.m. in New York and had already seen the eliminations of Victoria Azarenka, last year’s finalist, by Garbine Muguruza, and that of Sloane Stephens, the 2017 winner, by the returning Angelique Kerber who won the US title in 2016!

Elise Mertens (16th) was not surprised by the talented Tunisian, Ons Jabeur (21st). The Limburgoise even delivered a very successful meeting (6-3, 7-5) to climb for the 9th time in her career (the 4th in a row at the US Open) in the round of 16 of a Grand Slam. Very good consistency at the highest level!

For the 9th time in 8th

“I am very happy, both with the qualification and the level of play achieved,” smiled the Belgian n ° 1. “It was a lot better than my first two rounds (Editor’s note: she must have saved six match points when she came in here) and it’s gratifying to be able to show this tennis in the big tournaments. “

A level of play that she will have to maintain, if not raise, to pass the next obstacle this Sunday. Because against her friend and former doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka, it’s never easy for Elise Mertens. It is led 5-2 in the previous duels, and especially lost the last four …

Even if the power of the Belarusian particularly annoys our compatriot, it is perhaps in the head that this confrontation is played out. Elise will have to forget that Aryna is her friend in order to be able to fully attack her as if it were her real enemy, and not let go … If she manages to take control of the meeting and maintain her pace, this Sunday, the Belgian has the weapons to “unscrew” the world No. 2.

“She has a good serve, a very fast, aggressive game and when she’s 100% mentally it’s hard to beat her,” concedes the Limburg native. “She has really progressed well, she is world number 2 now, but in a Grand Slam tournament anything is possible…”

Indeed, anything is possible in this US Open, and since her very difficult first round, Elise is even more convinced … It’s a place in the quarterfinals that is being played this Sunday, and Mertens has taken a liking to it. ‘US Open since she was already there last year, beaten by Victoria Azarenka, future finalist, and also in 2019, defeated by a certain Bianca Andreescu, future winner …

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