Wimbledon champion Markéta Vondroušová is into the US Open quarterfinals, but was seen in tears shortly after as she was forced to withdraw from the doubles.
- Vondroušová was seen icing her elbow while crying in the players’ warm-up area
- Doubles partner Barbora Strýcová is retiring after this tournament
- In the men’s singles, Russian Andrey Rublev moved into the quarters, where he could face Australian Alex de Minaur
Vondroušová beat American 21-year-old Peyton Stearns in the fourth round, preventing an all-American quarterfinal of Stearns against Madison Keys, who upset another compatriot, third seed Jessica Pegula, with a 6-1, 6-3 thumping.
Vondroušová was made to work much harder for her 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2 win over Stearns in over two hours on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The ninth seed was due to play doubles later in the day alongside Czech partner Barbora Strýcová, but had to pull out of the third-round match with an arm injury.
The left-handed Vondroušová was seen crying in the players’ area with ice on her left elbow, with Strýcová wrapping her in a comforting hug.
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While it is not uncommon for players to withdraw from the doubles draw to conserve energy if they make deep singles runs, Vondroušová’s emotional exit could have as much to do with her partner as any concerns over her own fitness.
Strýcová, who won Wimbledon doubles titles this year and in 2019, has announced she will retire after this US Open.
Vondroušová had tape around her elbow at times during the match against Stearns and said she had been feeling pain since before the third round, partly blaming a change towards the heavier balls used by men for this year’s women’s tournament.
“I mean, I played tough matches. The season is very long, and I feel like the balls are not helping with everything,” she said.
“Of course, it was a bit sad. I cried a bit when I told Barbora. I had so many injuries that I don’t want to play with more. She’s a great person, so she told me it’s OK.
“I was, like, ‘It’s your last tournament. I don’t want to do it.’ She was, like, ‘OK, we have to play 100 per cent or we don’t play’. So it was OK.”
Strýcová was knocked out in the first round of the singles and is now out of the women’s doubles, but still has a mixed doubles quarterfinal alongside Mexico’s Santiago González still to come.
The woman Vondroušová beat to the Wimbledon title this year, Ons Jabeur, missed her chance to reach the last eight, going down 6-2, 6-4 to Chinese 23rd seed Qinwen Zheng.
It means four of the top five women’s seeds are now out, with only second seed Aryna Sabalenka remaining. She will play Zheng after beating Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-3 in their fourth-round match-up.
Alcaraz rolls on, Rublev waits for potential de Minaur clash
On the men’s side of the singles draw, reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz coasted into the quarters with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi inside two hours.
The world number one has dropped just one set en route to the last eight but will next face a tougher test against sixth seed Jannik Sinner or 2020 US Open finalist Alexander Zverev.
No matter what happens in New York, Alcaraz will lose the top ranking to second seed Novak Djokovic.
If the pair meet in the final it would be the third straight slam in which they have clashed — Alcaraz beat Djokovic in the Wimbledon final and lost to him in the semis of the French Open.
In the other quarterfinal in Alcaraz’s side of the draw, Russian Andrey Rublev won a tough contest with Englishman Jack Draper 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Eight seed Rublev now awaits the winner of Australian Alex de Minaur’s clash with world number three Daniil Medvedev.