France’s Caroline Garcia produced the biggest upset of the US Open on Wednesday, sending top seed Karolina Pliskova tumbling out of the tournament.
Garcia, the world number 50, scored one of the biggest wins of her career with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) second-round victory at Louis Armstrong Stadium. The 26-year-old’s 1hr 33min victory sends her into a third round meeting on Friday with American 28th seed Jennifer Brady.
If she can reproduce Wednesday’s polished performance, Garcia will fancy her chances of extending her run at Flushing Meadows.
Garcia – whose talent propelled her to fourth in the world rankings in September 2018 before a protracted slump sent her sliding down the standings in 2019 – attacked Pliskova from the outset.
Garcia raced into a 5-0 lead after scoring two early service breaks before taking the first set.
Although Pliskova improved in the second, she was unable to find the crucial service break when it mattered, and was unable to convert a set point in the second to level the match.
In the tie break, Garcia raced into a 6-2 lead and then completed victory when Pliskova hit a return into the net.
While Pliskova fell by the wayside, there were no such problems for fourth seed Naomi Osaka of Japan, the 2018 champion.
The fourth seed Osaka needed only 1hr 9min to swat aside Giorgi, the world number 74, winning 6-1, 6-2.
Osaka, the 2018 US Open champion, will now play Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the last 32 on Friday.
The 22-year-old had entered the tournament with concerns over her fitness after withdrawing from the final of the Western & Southern Open last week.
Her weary body was given a thorough test in her first round match on Monday, when compatriot Misaki Doi took her to three sets. However there was no sign of fatigue from Osaka on Wednesday as she romped to victory with tightly disciplined display.
In all, Osaka finished with 14 winners and only 11 unforced errors in the win. Her powerful service game also looked in good order, with Osaka winning 79% of points on her first serve.
Osaka entered the Arthur Ashe Stadium wearing a facemask emblazoned with the name of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old African-American man who died in police custody last year after being placed in a chokehold and injected with a sedative.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, advanced to the third round with a straight sets defeat of Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine, winning 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
Czech sixth seed Kvitova, chasing a third Grand Slam crown after wins at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, needed 1hr 40min to claim her place in the last 32. The 30-year-old will face Jessica Pegula of the United States in the third round.
Croatia’s Petra Martic, seeded eighth, defeated lowly ranked Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4.
Martic, who reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year in what remains her best US Open appearance, will face Russia’s Varvara Gracheva in the third round.
Gracheva, ranked 102nd in the world, upset France’s 30th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0.
Mladenovic suffered a meltdown for the ages as she slid to defeat, collapsing from a 6-1, 5-1 lead and blowing four match points along the way.
Another seed to tumble was the Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova. The out-of-sorts 12th seed was beaten 6-1, 6-2 in little more than an hour by Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Germany’s Angelique Kerber, the 2016 US Open champion, booked her place in the third round with a straight sets win over compatriot Anna-Lena Friedsam.
The 17th seed progressed with a 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) victory in 1hr 40min, and will now face Ann Li, who knocked out 13th seed Alison Riske 6-0, 6-3.
Caroline Garcia (FRA) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x1) 6-1, 7-6 (7/2)
Jennifer Brady (USA x28) bt Catherine Bellis (USA) 6-1, 6-2
Angelique Kerber (GER x17) bt Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)
Ann Li (USA) bt Alison Riske (USA x13) 6-0, 6-3
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x12) 6-1, 6-2
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ x23) bt Vera Lapko (BLR) 6-3, 6-3
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA x30) 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0
Petra Martic (CRO x8) bt Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 6-3, 6-4
Naomi Osaka (JPN x4) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-1, 6-2
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x31) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Magda Linette (POL x24) bt Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-1, 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/4)
Anett Kontaveit (EST x14) bt Kaja Juvan (SLO) 6-4, 6-1
Shelby Rogers (USA) bt Elena Rybakina (KAZ x11) 7-5, 6-1
Madison Brengle (USA) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR x19) 6-2, 6-3
Jessica Pegula (USA) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (3/7), 6-3
Petra Kvitova (CZE x6) bt Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
With AFP Inputs