Erratic Barty out of US Open, Serena steps up title pursuit

New York (AFP) –


Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty crashed out of the US Open in the last 16 after a wild display Sunday against Wang Qiang, while Serena Williams was set to continue her pursuit of a record-tying 24th major title.

Second seed Barty committed 39 unforced errors in a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Chinese 18th seed Wang, who had never gone beyond the third round at a Grand Slam before this tournament.

"It's a tough day at the office today. But it has been a year where we've hit our goals," Barty said.

"We've had a great season in Grand Slams for singles. We've made the second week every single one, which has been really special.

"Now we'll sit back, reflect, and look forward to a big couple months to finish off the year."

Australian Barty, who won the 2018 women's doubles titles, is partnering Victoria Azarenka this year. The pair could face US teen duo Coco Gauff and Caty McNally in their next match.

"Obviously I would have loved to have kept going here in singles, but we've got an opportunity to do that in doubles," Barty said.

"Knowing what it was like last year to be able to lift the trophy in doubles was really cool. To be able to have another opportunity to do that now, still being able to play in doubles, is a bonus."

Wang became the first Chinese player to reach the women's quarter-finals since Peng Shuai made it to the last four in 2014.

She will face either Croatian 22nd seed Petra Martic or six-time US Open champion Williams, who is seeking a 24th career Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court's all-time record.

The 37-year-old American last won a Slam at the 2017 Australian Open and hasn't won the US Open since 2014.

Wang was unsure if she would watch the Williams-Martic match, leaving that duty to her coach, Thomas Drouet.

"I think that's my coach's homework," Wang said. "I just want to enjoy now and my coach will tell me how to play next."

Wang's previous coach had been Peter McNamara, who died in July of prostate cancer.

Wang, who had squandered four match points in a semi-final loss last week at the WTA Bronx tournament, enjoyed solid support at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

"I love New York," she said.

Czech star Karolina Pliskova, who could return to world number one this fortnight, was set to face British 16th seed Johanna Konta in a later fourth-round match.

Third seed Pliskova, the 2016 runner-up in New York, has won six of seven prior meetings with Konta, including a straight-sets victory in May's final in Rome.

Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina takes on 2017 finalist Madison Keys in the evening session at Arthur Ashe Stadium.