On Friday at the US Open, players began punching tickets to the second week of the tournament. Here's a snapshot of a few standout quotes from those moving one step closer to the title.
Angelique Kerber, who lifted the trophy four years ago at Flushing Meadows, returned to week two after ending the run of wild card Ann Li, 6-3, 6-4. The 32-year-old German was asked about the success of WTA moms at this year's event and whether she could see herself walking in their shoes one day.
“I actually don’t recognize that. There are so many mothers in the draw,” said Kerber. “I think it’s good for them, when you know you can come back and play on a high level after having a baby—of course it’s a great thing. You can see that everyone loves the sport and this is always important. About me, I don’t know. I’m not thinking about this yet. For me, it’s more important now to play good tennis and stay in the moment.”
Kerber will clash with Lexington champion Jennifer Brady for a spot in the last eight. The former UCLA standout has shined in her first major as a seeded player, dropping just 14 games through three encounters. Following her 6-3, 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia, the woman who eliminated No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova, Brady spoke about making the most of the circumstances inside the bubble, including the opportunity to take in other matches.
“I think the suites have been definitely a game-changer here at the US Open. Somewhere to relax and chill, just with you and your team,” the No. 28 seed expressed. “I actually watched quite a few matches, just waiting for my watch to go on and also on my days off. One particular match I thought was pretty good was the Murray and Nishioka match. It was really high-quality tennis. My coach and I tried each one of the activities on site here. We did the corn hole, ping pong and the mini golf.”
World No. 10 David Goffin was dealt one of the trickier draws on the men's side, but has passed with flying colors to reach the round of 16 for the fourth year running. Having handled Reilly Opelka in his opener before defeating Lloyd Harris, Goffin raised his game to outclass the in-form Filip Krajinovic, 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-4. The Belgian insisted he's maintained more than a fresh face after his end-of-year milestone birthday was brought up during his virtual presser.
“I’m feeling young. As you can see, my face is young, my body is young, so I don’t feel that I’m going to be 30 in December. I feel like I’m still 20, 22, and that’s good,” said Goffin. “I think I don’t waste too much energy on the court, I can still play the long matches in five sets if I need to. That’s the most important. But what is even better, if it’s in my body, I’m younger than 30, but in my head I have the maturity. It’s perfect. Maybe the best level and the best is yet to come.”
The best of Jordan Thompson just might be unfolding before our eyes. The 26-year-old came into New York with an 8-19 mark on the Grand Slam stage, and had never made it out of the first week in his first 19 main draw appearances. His 20th ushered in a change to that, as Thompson has wiped away three unseeded opponents, including Mikhail Kukushkin, 7-5, 6-4, 6-1, on Friday. The Australian, who lost in the final qualifying stage of the Western & Southern Open the week prior at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, has all but ensured the long haul he made amidst unsettling conditions was worth it.
“This is a big pay day, obviously, fourth round in U.S. dollars. I actually haven’t checked to see how much it is,” Thompson said. “I assume it’s a good chunk and probably the most I’ve ever earned, so couldn’t be happier about that.”