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The Draw: 30 June

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Monday, 4 September 2017 09:51 AM BST
US Open Day 7: Remarkable Kvitova reaches quarter-finals rounds up the action from Day 7 at the US Open. READ MORE

If all Petra Kvitova had done at the US Open was show up and lose first round, it would already have been a story to warm the heart. But for all the horrors that she has been through over the past year, Kvitova has not stopped being a champion and on Sunday night at the US Open, the winner of two ladies' singles championships thrust herself back into the big time. 

The 27-year-old produced a stunning performance under the lights to beat the current Wimbledon singles champion Garbiñe Muguruza 7-6(3), 6-3 with a brilliant display, full of ferocious hitting. From 4-1 down in the first set, it was a relentless barrage of outstanding ball-striking from a woman who still does not yet have 100 percent feeling in the left hand she used to fend off a knife-wielding attacker in her home last December.

Just being back on the tour was a huge achievement for Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 singles champion at Wimbledon.

It was moments like this, back on the big stage against another champion, that kept her dreaming, kept her working harder than ever to get back. Muguruza, who may yet be world No.1 when the tournament is over, was the first to admit that she was outplayed by Kvitova.

The Czech is in the last eight for the second time in her career but this time, for obvious reasons, is different.

“After everything that’s happened, I really appreciate what I experience in life,” said a beaming Kvitova, who now plays Venus Williams for a place in the semi-finals. “I am loving every moment right now, it is something really special. I’m enjoying it more than before.” 

Muguruza, the favourite for the title in Cincinnati last month, looked like she would be too consistent for Kvitova when she led 4-1, the depth of her groundstrokes and superior movement forcing the Czech to make mistakes. But no one hits a forehand like Kvitova and as she found her range, the match began to turn. Though she failed to serve it out at 6-5 and then went 2-0 down in the tiebreak, she won seven of eight points to take the tiebreak 7-3.

After everything that happened, I really appreciate what I experience in life

- Petra Kvitova

After forging a 5-2 lead in the second, Kvitova missed two match points on the Muguruza serve and then double-faulted twice as she served for the match. When the Spaniard’s final shot sailed over the baseline, Kvitova turned to her team, joy written all over her face.

She’ll meet Williams, who beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the last eight, a couple of wins from what would be a truly remarkable third Grand Slam final of the year.

“I think that she's playing amazing in the majors this year,” Kvitova said of Williams. “She is really playing very, very well on the big stages. She played the final of the Wimbledon. She's a champion. We always had tough battles. But I will try my best. She has something special which the other players don’t have. That's what I will try to play again probably, similar game as today."

Shock of the day

Maria Sharapova’s return to Grand Slam tennis after her 15-month doping ban has been one of the stories of the US Open but on Sunday, her run came to an end as she was worn down by Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.

Sharapova looked on course for victory when she won the first set 7-5 but Sevastova, who reached the quarter-finals last year, tired her out with a series of drop shots, slices, angles and a mixture that in the end, final broke down the Russian’s resistance.

"It's always disappointing to be on the losing end of things," Sharapova said. "But reflecting back on the week, I can be happy."

The return of Sloane

Sloane Stephens was out for 11 months with a foot injury before she returned to the tour at Wimbledon in June. Back to back semi-final showings in Toronto and Cincinnati were more than she could have hoped for so soon in her comeback and now she’s into the quarter-finals of the US Open, her 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 win over Julia Goerges of Germany setting up a clash with Sevastova.

“I honestly couldn’t have asked for it to go so well,” she said. “Making the quarter-finals is unbelievable for me, I couldn’t be happier."

Shapovalov’s run comes to an end

Denis Shapovalov is a name we’re going to get very used to in the future but the former Wimbledon junior champion will have to wait a little while longer to get to the business end of Grand Slams. Spain’s Pablo Carrena-Busta, the highest-remaining seed in the bottom half, played three exceptional tiebreaks to win 7-6(2), 7-6(2), 7-6 (3) but Shapovalov will be back.

Tall stories

Sam Querrey, at 6ft 6in, and Kevin Anderson, at 6ft 8in, will square off in the last eight of the men’s event, a repeat of their clash at Wimbledon this summer, which the American won in five sets. Querrey may never have played better than he did in his 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over Mischa Zverev of Germany, hitting 55 winners and only eight unforced errors.

Anderson saw off Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4 to reach the quarters for the second time in three years. “It’s been a great year for me,” said Querrey, who is the first American man into the last eight since 2011.

And one short one

Diego Schwartzman is constantly reminded of his short stature but the 5ft 7in Argentinian won’t mind this record. He is the shortest man into the quarter-finals of the US Open since Jaime Yzaga of Peru, also 5ft 7in, in 1994, thanks to a 7-6(3), 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 win over Lucas Pouille of France.

Point of the day

Venus Williams got the better of Suarez Navarro in the end but the Spaniard came out on top at the end of this outrageous rally

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