Another day, another player in the race for No. 1 knocked early out of the US Open.
On Wednesday it was No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki jettisoned from Flushing Meadows, stunned by Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-1.
Makarova broke down in tears on court while losing the second-set tiebreak, but then took an extended bathroom break to compose herself before running through the third set.
Top 10-seeded players avoiding the upset bug Wednesday were No. 3 Garbine Muguruza who defeated China’s Duan Yingying 6-4, 6-0, No. 4 Elina Svitolina who worked past Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-3, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova who came from a set down and match points to defeat Czech Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), No. 9 Venus Williams who topped France’s Oceane Dodin 7-5, 6-4, and No. 10 Aggie Radwanska who edged Croat Petra Martic 6-4, 7-6(3).
“To save three match points, I think it was crazy,” Kuznetsova said. “It was a tough one. I’m happy I survive. But I’m definitely not happy with my performance today.”
Lower-seeded winners were No. 13 Petra Kvitova, No. 16 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 17 Elena Vesnina, No. 18 Caroline Garcia who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-0 in the third, No. 20 CoCo Vandeweghe who came from a set down to beat American countrywoman Alison Riske, No. 25 Daria Gavrilova, No. 27 Zhang Shuai who came from a set down to beat Sabine Lisicki, No. 30 Julia Goerges, and No. 31 Magdalena Rybarikova.
“To play one of your really good friends is not easy,” Vandeweghe said. “Allie and I have had some good matches and some not-so-good matches on her end. But we’ve played a lot. We’ve kind of come up through the ranks together, playing the challenger tour together. We’ve spent a lot of time together, Fed Cup, middle-of-nowhere places on the challenger tour. It’s not easy to play one of your good friends. But I’m happy to come away with the win.”
Also on the upset tip were American Sloane Stephens over No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, Romanian Monica Niculescu confounding No. 14 Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-2, American Christina McHale coming from a set down to beat No. 19 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, Croat Donna Vekic rolling No. 22 Peng Shuai 6-0, 6-2, veteran Czech Lucie Safarova coming from a set down to oust No. 26 Anett Kontaveit 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4, and Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro coming from behind to beat No. 29 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.
Unseeded winners of note were American Sofia Kenin into the third round of a Slam for the first time after edging countrywoman Sachia Vickery 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(0), and Maria Sharapova coming back to defeat Timea Babos 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1.
“I still think I need a little bit more time, a little bit more matches,” Sharapova said. “I’m definitely a player that likes and prefers to play with instinct. I like the moments where you have to figure it out on yourself. Obviously you go into a match with a little bit of a plan on how you’re going to play and execute. But there are times in a match where you just have to, as you say, play with instinct. So that’s definitely a preference of mine. It will take a little bit of time.”
Joining Kenin among unseeded American winners at their home slam were Shelby Rogers, Jennifer Brady and Nicole Gibbs, while losers were Brienne Minor, Kayla Day, CiCi Bellis, Taylor Townsend, Ashley Kratzer, Danielle Lao and Madison Brengle.
Another notable loser was Genie Bouchard, falling out to Russian Evgeniya Rodina 7-6(2), 6-1, continuing her dismal year.
“My confidence is not high at all at this point in time, and I definitely — yeah, I definitely had question marks about what my level would be like coming out today,” the Canadian said afterwards.
Matches of interest on Thursday at Flushing Meadows include (1) Karolina Pliskova vs. Nicole Gibbs, (15) Madison Keys vs. Tatjana Maria, and (25) Daria Gavrilova vs. Shelby Rogers.
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