NEW YORK, NY, USA - Reigning Roland Garros and WTA Finals champions Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic continued their consistent run at major tournaments, booking an eighth straight quarterfinal appearance after defeating Anna Kalinskaya and Yulia Putintseva, 6-3, 6-2.
Babos and Mladenovic were finalists at last year's US Open, and weathered a stormy Labor Day afternoon to dispatch their giant-killing opponents in 68 minutes on Court 5.
The match length is deceptively short as the top seeds were on and off court for most of the afternoon against Kalinskaya and Putintseva - who upset Sloane Stephens and Aryna Sabalenka, respectively, in the singles tournament - but were nonetheless in command when play invariably resumed.
"It wasn’t a long match, but a long day, because we arrived here pretty early, and then became first match on as soon as the courts were ready," Mladenovic recalled after the match. "It’s tough conditions for both teams and all the players, but I think we were very professional, pumped, and motivated from the very beginning to play well."
Racing out to a 5-0 lead to start, the former WTA Doubles World No.1s withstood a late surge from the Russian/Kazakh duo to claim the opening set off a big serve from Babos.
"These are typically the kind of matches that can be tricky and where you can see upsets because you might not feel ready, it’s weird to be playing because no one was watching us when started, we switched courts, and everything. Our level was definitely there and just very professional and steady. We’re very glad that, after a day like this, we got the job done."
The second set saw Babos and Mladenovic break to start, pressuring Kalinskaya into an errant backhand volley. Though Kalinskaya and Putintseva clawed back to two games apiece, Babos and Mladenovic were undeterred, rolling through the final four games, clinching the win off the latter's serve as Kalinskaya sliced a forehand volley long.
"When we don’t know an opponent, we try to figure them out in the match, but today, Kiki knew it because she watched their last match, and so and we went on court with a tactic," Babos said. "Of course, during a match we can always change, but it’s most important to take care of our service games, our basics on the return and at the net. I think, then, our job is pretty much done."
Up next for the top seeds are No.8 seeds and Internazionali BNL d'Italia champions Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty; the former singles World No.1s ended Coco Gauff and Caty McNally's run on Grandstand court, 6-0, 6-1.
"McCoco" had captured the imagination of the US Open crowd, having won the Citi Open and Gauff going on to reach the third round of the singles tournament, but Azarenka and Barty's experience won the day on Monday afternoon, surging to victory in just 48 minutes.
"I think that just today wasn't the best day for Caty and I," Gauff said. "We didn't start off good, and I guess that momentum kind of dragged on the whole match.
"Obviously it is a little bit of a different level because it's the first match we lost. I think we'll get it next time."
No.2 seeds and Wimbledo champions Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova saw their eight-match Grand Slam winning streak come to an end at the hands of No.14 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko.
Hsieh took an off-court medical timeout three games into the match, and together with Strycova struggled to deal with the heavy pace coming from both Ostapenko and Kichenok, who served out the win in one hour and 33 minutes.