The three highest remaining seeds all fell at the Cincinnati Masters on Thursday.
In third round play, Madison Keys rose up to collect her first career win over a world No. 1 upsetting Iga Swiatek with ease 6-3, 6-4. The powerful Keys who won the 2019 edition was up 6-3, 5-0 before Swiatek won four straight games to make things interesting.
“It feels great. I obviously have not had the best success against World No. 1s, so being able to get a win against Iga, especially after having two losses to her already, means a lot to me, and I think I’m playing some pretty good tennis,” said Keys.
“I was really just thinking that I had to focus a lot on why I got in the position of being up 5-Love. I think I backed off a little bit, and I think she started playing better,” Keys said.
“I just knew that I was going to have to try to put some pressure on her early in the game just to kind of also make her aware of the situation. All of a sudden it’s 5-4 and she feels like she has to hold that game. So just really trying to swing at the ball, make sure I was moving my feet, and put as much pressure on her as quickly as possible.”
Swiatek, who had won 37 straight matches earlier this years, is just 4-4 in her last eight.
No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit’s struggles resumed. The Estonian was bounced in three sets by Zhang Shaui 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
And Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur fell to Petra Kvitova 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.
Emma Raducanu’s run ended by the hands of Jessica Pegula who eliminated the US Open winner 7-5, 6-4.
“Definitely having to beat Serena and Vika is not easy, even no matter how they played or Serena hasn’t been doing as well, whatever,” Pegula said of Raducanu. “I think handling the moment like that is really difficult. For her, she’s already had success, but for her to handle that, I think it’s really hard no matter what. I don’t care what you say or how you are playing or whatever. To beat both of those girls back-to-back is tough.”
A pair of qualifiers remained in the hunt as Caroline Garcia continued her solid summer topping Elise Mertens in straights and Ajla Tomljanovic ousted Veronika Kudermetova in three.
Aryna Sabalenka blew a set and 5-2 lead but hung on to beat Shelby Rogers in a nervy three sets 6-4 in the third.
And Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina advanced in straights over Alison Riske-Amritraj.
Today, Rybakina will now face Keys, Pegula meets Garcia, Kvitova collides with Tomljanovic and Sabalenka battles Zhang.
Keys is the only former champion or finalist left in the field. Sabalenka and Pegula are the highest ranked players remaining.
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