World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki’s inglorious U.S. hardcourt summer came to an end on Thursday at the US Open when she was upset 6-4, 6-2 by the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
It is the first time in the Open Era that the two top seeds have gone out before the quarterfinals at the US Open, and Wozniacki was the third Slam champion this week to lose on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium Court which is quickly becoming known as the “graveyard court.”
“I saw balls I felt like I could finish, like I could hit big on,” said Tsurenko who had 20 winners to 38 unforced errors. “But she played well. Got a lot of balls back. Waited for the short ball and played a lot of angles.”
Wozniacki’s power outage resulted in only six winners for the Dane.
Tsurenko’s third round opponent will be unseeded Czech Katerina Siniakova, who saved a match point in beating Aussie Aija Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(4).
The remainder of the Top 10 seeds in action Thursday struggled to avoid Wozniacki’s fate as No. 4 Angie Kerber outlasted Swede Johanna Larsson 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, No. 5 Petra Kvitova beat China’s Yafan Wang 7-5, 6-3, No. 6 Caroline Garcia rallied past Monica Puig 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, and No. 10 Jelena Ostapenko came from a set down to defeat former world No. 1 junior American Taylor Townsend 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Ostapenko’s next opponent will be No. 22 seed Maria Sharapova, who did not look sharp on Thursday in a 6-2, 7-5 win over Romanian Sorana Cirstea, featuring seven double faults in her first two service games. Ostapenko topped that with 14 double faults in her win.
Kerber improved to 4-0 career against Larsson but not without effort.
“I think it was really a tough match and a tough battle, especially in the third set,” the German said. “I think that I played good until 5-2 in the second set, and I was really trying to playing the game I was planned to play. I think it is tennis that you have to play until the last point. She came back. She played good when she was down, and she had nothing to lose then.”
Kerber will next meet No. 29 Dominika Cibulkova who held off Taipei’s Su-Wei Hsieh 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4. Kvitova’s next opponent will be the red-hot No. 26 seed Arya Sabalenka who ended the run of qualifier and former world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6(7).
Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich was another upset-maker Thursday, ousting No. 11 Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 7-6(3) to set up a meeting with No. 20 Naomi Osaka, who dispatched of Israeli qualifier Julia Glushko 6-2, 6-0.
Other seeded winners on the day were No. 13 Kiki Bertens who beat American qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-2, 6-1, No. 14 seed and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys who topped fellow American Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-1, and No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro who was a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 winner over Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.
Berten’s next opponent will be 19-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova who was a 6-4, 6-3 winner against Canadian qualifier Genie Bouchard.
Friday’s loaded line-up in Flushing Meadows includes (3) Sloane Stephens vs. former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, (16) Venus Williams vs. (17) Serena Williams in the 7 p.m. night match on Ashe, and (8) Katerina Pliskova vs. American teen Sofia Kenin.
Serena leads 17-12 approaching the 30th career meeting for the Williams sisters.
“She knows my game really well,” Serena says of Venus. “It’s really interesting to play someone that knows. You have to almost become a different player.”
Andy Murray also broke down the match-up.
“Both of them are great athletes,” he said. “They both move extremely well. For me watching them play, it’s kind of the outstanding thing, their movement. Serena’s got a great serve. They both hit the ball big from the back of the court. But for me, it’s the way they cover the court. They’re still moving extremely well — maybe not as well as they were a few years ago, but they’re still two of the best movers on the tour. Venus covers a lot of ground. She has very, very long strides. Serena is a very strong, powerful mover. That’s the most impressive thing for me. It’s incredible what they’ve done, amazing really. There’ve been other siblings that have had fantastic careers in tennis, but none anywhere close to what they’ve managed to achieve. I’d be surprised if anything like that ever happens again.”
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