Carla Suárez Navarro hit 45 winners on her way to a surprise 46 63 76(3) win over No.8 seed Angelique Kerber at the US Open on Sunday.
WTA Staff

NEW YORK, NY, USA - When Carla Suárez Navarro was broken to love trying to serve out for a place in the quarterfinals of the US Open, she could have been forgiven for thinking it was not her day.

With the finishing line in sight after two and half hours of energy-sapping rallies and breathtaking shotmaking, Suárez Navarro transpired to produce her worst tennis when it mattered most, gifting her opponent, Angelique Kerber, an 11th hour lifeline with a succession of miscued forehands.

Yet in a match that had more twists than a New York pretzel, there was still time for one final dramatic turn, as the Spaniard banished the memories of that service horror show to produce a near-flawless tie-break to draw her weary limbs over the finish line.

"In the last set I was so nervous when I was serving for the match but I managed to come back and be loose in the tie-break and just play my game," Suárez Navarro said after her 46 63 76(3) win.

Her game, and in particular her signature one-handed backhand, had given the crowd on Louis Armstrong plenty to savor on an absorbing afternoon. Suárez Navarro came flying out of the blocks, building a 4-2 lead only to be pegged back and eventually pipped to the set by Kerber's counterpunching style.

However, in the second, the first cracks began to appear in the No.8 seed's resolute defenses and Suárez Navarro capitalized to force a decider. "The first set was tough - it was really close - but Angelique played better than me but then I came back so well in the second set," she added. "I'm so happy, today was a difficult match for me against a top, top player."

Suárez Navarro is the first Spaniard since Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in 1998 to reach the last eight in New York and her reward is a meeting with top seed and defending champion Serena Williams. Although Suárez Navarro is no stranger to this stage of a major, having reached the quarterfinal at the French Open in 2008 and Australian Open in 2009, she is well aware of the challenge that lies in wait.

"It's amazing to be in the quarterfinals and to be playing against Serena. She's a very good player, she's No.1, she's won a lot of Grand Slams so it's going to be difficult! I just need to be relaxed, concentrate on my game and just try to enjoy the match."