Queens native’s improbable run ends in fourth round
by Bryan Fonseca
Sep 03, 2019 | 3199 views | 0 0 comments | 408 408 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Flushing Meadows’ own Kristie Ahn became one of the U.S. Open’s cinderella stories in week one of the prestigious tournament by qualifying for round four, her best showing in a Grand Slam single.

The wild card entry won her first three matches against Svetlana Kuznetsova (7-5, 6-2), Anna Kalinskaya (6-2, 6-3) and Jelena Ostapenko (6-2, 7-5) in straight sets before running into world number-25 Elise Mertens, who she faced Monday afternoon on Louis Armstrong’s stadium grounds, losing 6-1, 6-1 in a dominant effort for the German star.

Still, Ahn enjoyed her lengthy run into week two, and managed to take it all in before it ended on Monday.

“I’ve never played in front of a stadium that full before, so it was pretty awesome to have the majority of everyone cheering for me,” she remarked after her win in round three.

“I think if I don’t fully process it, then I’ll never have to fully deal with it,” she added. “When I go back to the hotel I think about how awesome an opportunity it is and what a great experience it’s been. I’m so happy about it.”

The Stanford graduate had never gotten through the first round of a major tournament before this past weekend.

Ahn, who has won seven singles tournaments on the ITF Tour, talked about taking her game to another level in her own backyard after being bounced out of three consecutive qualifying rounds over the most recent three US Open’s.

“I felt like the tennis has been the same, but it’s just the ability to mentally dig in a little bit deeper in those tough moments,” Ahn said. “I feel like that’s what’s really been stacking me these last couple of weeks.”

Ahn’s career-best Grand Slam run also caught the attention of Mertens, who defeated her in round four and will move on to the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Mertens was complimentary of Ahn’s effort after the two shared the court on Monday.

“It was actually a tough match,” Mertens insisted, even though the final tally would indicate otherwise. “I was really playing aggressively and not letting her into those rallies. She likes to go right and left into those rallies, and I just tried to find the way through it.”
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