Wise words fire Wang's stellar run
Chinese ace says late coach 'is always with me' after beating Barty at US Open
NEW YORK - Wang Qiang said the memory of her former coach Peter McNamara, the late Australian Davis Cup star and Wimbledon doubles champion, was helping drive her breakthrough run at the US Open.
The Chinese 18th seed is enjoying her best Grand Slam showing in New York and qualified for the quarterfinals after a 6-2, 6-4 victory over reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia.
"I think I'm really focused on the court ... I really enjoyed the way I played and I'm so happy I won," Wang said after becoming the first woman from China to reach the last eight of the US Open since Peng Shuai made the semifinals in 2014.
"I think I did really well today. I was really mentally strong. Now I have to just keep going."
It has been a challenging year for Wang, 27, following McNamara's death in July.
The Aussie coach, a popular figure on the men's and women's tours, died of prostate cancer at the age of 64.
"He helped me a lot. It was really tough on me when he passed," Wang said. "I think he is always here with me."
Wang worked with McNamara from mid-2015 until the start of this year, when the coach's deteriorating health made it more difficult to travel, ending a partnership that coincided with Wang cracking the top 20 last season.
"He told me how to play the matches. He took me to professional tennis ... he taught me everything," Wang said.
"He always believed in me. He told me I can become the top player."
Barty, who beat Wang twice last year in their only prior meetings, was undone by 39 unforced errors at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Wang now faces Serena Williams, who is seeking a 24th career Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court's all-time record, for a spot in the last four.
Wang was unsure if she would watch the match between Williams and 22nd seed Petra Martic, leaving that duty to her new coach, Thomas Drouet.
"I think that's my coach's homework," she said. "I just want to enjoy now and my coach will tell me how to play next.
"I need recover for my body and we will talk about my next match tomorrow."
Williams, a six-time US Open winner, romped to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Martic to set up the quarterfinal with Wang.
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