World No.2 Angelique Kerber made quick work of qualifier Catherine Bellis to book a place in the fourth round, where she'll play former No.2 Petra Kvitova at the US Open.
WTA Staff

NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.2 seed Angelique Kerber closed out a drama-free Friday night with a 6-1, 6-1 win over American qualifier Catherine Bellis to reach the second week of the US Open in 55 minutes.

"It was a great atmosphere," she said after the match. "I mean, the fans and the crowd, it's just amazing. Of course, to playing against an American, it was really special.

"I was enjoying playing tonight out there."

In pole position to become the first German to become No.1 in the world since Stefanie Graf in 1997, the reigning Australian Open champion put on a masterclass for Bellis, the tournament's most impressive young talent.

Bellis backed up her breakthrough week in 2014, where she became the youngest woman to win a match at the US Open in 18 years, by making it through qualifying and notching solid wins over Viktorija Golubic and Shelby Rogers to earn her best-ever Grand Slam finish.

"She's a great young, really talented player. For sure she will have a great future. I'm really sure it will be a good one."

But Kerber proved a bridge too far for Bellis as the German hit 17 winners to 18 unforced errors, not only dictating play but also playing the cleaner match compared to Bellis, who hit 11 winners and 21 unforced errors.

"I think it's important to my game, being aggressive, but also being defensive. Your opponent's playing sometimes really aggressive, so there are different ways to win. You have to play your own game. This is what I'm trying."

Up next for the World No.2 is a former No.2 in Petra Kvitova, as the No.14 seed survived a second set surge to dispatch No.22 seed Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-4, earlier in the day on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

"Petra with a three, it's not working so far, which is good," the Czech said after the match, jokingly referring to her P3tra nickname derived from her tendency to play three-setters. "I'm saving some energy.

"The important is the win. But of course, with saving energy it's always better."

Kvitova was two games from victory after racing out to a set and 4-0 lead, but Svitolina, a Connecticut Open finalist, won four games of her own to level the set.

"It was a little difficult at the end of the second set. It was a big fight, the last game."