Former champion Samantha Stosur is once again the last Australian singles hope at Flushing Meadows after advancing to the last 16 for the first time in four years.
As Bernard Tomic crashed out with a straight-sets third-round loss to 12th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Stosur buried some mental demons with a 7-5 2-6 6-1 victory over Italian 16th seed Sara Errani.
Errani had beaten Stosur in their two previous meetings and shattered the Queenslander in Paris three years ago in one of the most disappointing defeats of her career.
But there was no repeat of Stosur’s third-set meltdown from that infamous French Open semi-final as she broke the higher-ranked Errani twice to power through the final set on Saturday in 29 minutes.
Stosur’s impressive win set up a clash on Monday with another of her Italian nemeses, 25th seed Flavia Pennetta. Stosur now eyes her first grand slam quarter-final since her US Open title defence in 2012.
Stosur has lost all six previous encounters with Pennetta, a two-time US Open semi-finalist who battled back from a set down to end the gallant run of Czech giantkiller Petra Cetkovska 1-6 6-1 6-4.
Stosur knows she’ll need to raise her game for Pennetta but, for now, is savouring her first last-16 appearance at Flushing Meadows in four years.
“Look, I’m happy to be in the second week. Happy with the way I’m playing,” she said.
“There is always things you want to improve and get better at, but you can only do what you do on any given day.
“Sara is a tricky opponent. I lost the last two times we played. I’m pleased to get through that and see what happens in the next one.”
Gasquet, a Wimbledon semi-finalist who eliminated fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios at The All England Club, earlier denied Tomic a place in the second week for the first time in New York with a 6-4 6-3 6-1 victory.