WHAT HAPPENED: Wang Qiang of China, the No. 18 seed, took out French Open champion and No. 2 seed Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round of the 2019 US Open, 6-2, 6-4, to make her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Wang saved all nine break points to outfight Barty, who made 39 unforced errors.
Barty came up with too little, too late to reverse the momentum of the match after getting off to a slow start in the first set. In the cool conditions, her serve wasn’t as effective as usual—she won just 57 percent of points on serve, below her average of 64 percent, the third-best in the WTA this year.
The biggest problem, though, were errors. Playing from several feet behind the baseline, she racked up 15 to Wang’s six. Wang was the more aggressive player, unloading a big forehand down the line when serving for the set at 5-2 and bending to her knees to hold her position on the baseline. Barty made two mistakes to drop the set.
Wang has made her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. The 27-year-old is having her best 12 months on tour, following a run last fall in Asia during which she won in Guangzhou and made three semis and a final. The effort boosted her to a career-high No. 20 in the rankings this summer. She also made the semifinal in the Bronx Open the week before the US Open and held four match points before losing to Camila Giorgi. With her recent success, it was likely not an opponent Barty took lightly.
Wang next faces the winner of Serena Williams versus Petra Martic. Asked about her homework to prepare during her on-court interview after the match, she answered with a laugh, “I think that’s my coach homework. I just want to enjoy now.”