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Like reality TV, CoCo Vandeweghe does not lack drama

NEW YORK -- CoCo Vandeweghe admits she loves watching "The Real Housewives" and "Vanderpump Rules" during her spare time.

"I am a huge Bravo fan," Vandeweghe said. "I really do enjoy Stassi Schroeder Insta Stories. They've been good, funny."

Like the drama on her favorite reality TV shows, Vandeweghe keeps things interesting and is far from dull emotionally. She showed this when she moved into the second week of the US Open for the first time in her career with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 upset win against No. 10 seed Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday.

Vandeweghe is one of five American women to reach the fourth round (aka round of 16), joining Venus Williams, Madison Keys, Jennifer Brady and Sloane Stephens. Even as Serena Williams takes time off the tour to become a new mother, American women's tennis is enjoying its best showing here since seven players made it to the fourth round in 2002.

" I think we've been progressing," Vandeweghe said of the U.S. contingent. "I think the girls all around my age have been moving up through the rankings, doing better in Grand Slams."

While Venus' and Keys' presence in the second week was expected, the others have been pleasant surprises. Brady, ranked No. 91, pulled out a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (3) win over Monica Niculescu to make her second surprising fourth-round appearance in a major this year. Brady made it to this stage at the Australian Open as well.

"I don't know if it's something about the Slams or -- honestly, I'm not sure," said Brady, who faces top-seeded Karolina Pliskova on Monday. "I'm not complaining. I think maybe it's just everything kind of just falls in place."

Things have often fallen apart for Vandeweghe whenever she's faced Radwanska, who had beaten the 22nd-seeded American in five of their previous six meetings. Radwanska's consistent play and her style of mixing it up with different speeds and an array of angles can be maddening for Vandeweghe's big and aggressive style.

The last time these two met, Radwanska dismissed Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-2 in Toronto. So CoCo came up with her own Vandeweghe Rules for playing Radwanska.

"Aga is a difficult opponent for me," Vandeweghe said. "I think for anyone, really. And she poses a lot of problems. She gets a lot of balls back. She hits a lot of tricky shots.

"I know what she's capable of doing in putting me in uncomfortable situations. It's more of just, what am I going to do to counteract that? I decided I was going to hold strong in the rallies; fight for the long games was a big focus of mine, compete really hard."

There were times when Vandeweghe got upset, but she channeled her anger and stayed aggressive. With new coach Pat Cash mentoring her, Vandeweghe came to the net 49 times, winning 32 of those points. She hit 49 winners but also committed 54 unforced errors -- a sign of her go-big style. Vandeweghe also showed patience, winning 21 of 37 rallies that went nine shots or longer.

Cash's presence, work ethic, drive and aggressive-playing mentality seem to be an ideal marriage for Vandeweghe's talent and game.

"I would say harnessing the tenacity that I already have in the right way," Vandeweghe said of Cash's influence since he joined the American for Wimbledon. "I think Pat gives me a very specific goal of what to do with the energy and fire that I do bring to the court. I think it's worked very well."

Before this year, Vandeweghe played in the US Open eight times but never made it past the second round. The last time she made a similar run here, she won the US Open girls tournament in 2008.

"I was definitely expecting a way different kind of professional career at the get-go," Vandeweghe said. "Unfortunately, it was not to be, with injuries, learning curve, and also a learning curve of what the professional tour is.

"I mean, I was 16, still growing, still maturing. It took some time for me. I was a very immature 16-year-old as far as development-wise. I think I took some lumps definitely to get to where I am now."

Now, with Cash by her side, the New York City native is making another run in her hometown. A niece of former NBA player Kiki Vandeweghe, CoCo fed off the New York crowd on Saturday, celebrating her victory by pulling a Hulk Hogan and pointing toward her ear before pointing to her heart to acknowledge her appreciation for the fans' energy.

Vandeweghe says she's still a work in progress. But she hopes that fans will watch her journey and enjoy it the way she enjoys the characters on her Bravo reality shows.

"I think I'm still developing as a person and also as a player," Vandeweghe said. "I think my biggest goal is to develop as a person, a person that my family can be proud of, and also someone that I can be proud of at the end of the day.

"As long as I'm moving in the right direction there for myself, I'll be happy."