Russian wild card entrant Maria Sharapova won another three-set match to advance to the third round on a day which saw several upsets with Caroline Wozniacki, Nick Kyrgios and German fourth seed Alexander Zverev exiting the US Open.
Sharapova, who is playing in her first Grand Slam tournament since serving a 15-month doping suspension, defeated Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency. She had stunned second seed Simona Halep of Romania in her opening round.
The five-time major champion was underperforming in the opening set and made 19 unforced errors including four double faults. An upset looked to be on the cards when Babos took the first set.
But the 30-year-old Russian turned around the situation in the following set with a controlled performance. After breaking serve to go up 4-3, she never looked back before taking the set easily 6-4.
Sharapova, now ranked 146th in the world, kept the pressure on her opponent when she started the third set with a break game on her way to victory.
“Today I knew I wanted to get it done and I did. I felt like it was a scrappy match but sometime those days are the best because you get through and give yourself another chance,” said Sharapova.
“In the second set I was physically fresh. That gave me a lot of confidence.”
Fifth seed Wozniacki of Denmark became the fourth top-10 woman to exit from the US Open after just two rounds when she lost 2-6, 7-6 (5), 1-6 against Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.
She joins second seed Simona Halep, sixth-seeded defending champion Angelique Kerber of Germany and Britain’s Johanna Konta, the seventh seed, in crashing out of the tournament.
In other first round matches, No. 8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia defeated Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), No. 10 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6(3), and No. 20 seed Coco Vandeweghe from the United States beat fellow American Alison Riske 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In the men’s part, Zverev, whose five ATP titles this year include a win over Roger Federer in this month’s Montreal final, fell to 61st-ranked Croatian Borna Coric 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(1), 7-6 (4).
Cilic, the 2014 US Open winner, reached the third round by beating Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Australia’s Kyrgios too crashed out, losing 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 Wednesday afternoon to 235th-ranked countryman John Millman, reports Efe.
The talented but volatile Kyrgios got off to a difficult start in Louis Armstrong Stadium but appeared to turn the match around in the second set, when he fired seven aces and struck 15 winners to his opponent’s two.
But the 14th seed began complaining of numbness in his shoulder after a serve at the start of the third set, and then his frustration quickly mounted as he saw his chances fade at the last Grand Slam event of the tennis season.
The Australian was given a code violation for an audible obscenity toward the end of the third set and then smashed his racquet after falling behind two sets to one.
Kyrgios’ game completely imploded without his biggest weapon in the fourth set, when he won just 47 percent of his first-serve points and committed 19 unforced errors.
“Played a great second set. Was feeling good. And then I don’t know. I just — something didn’t feel right in my arm,” Kyrgios, who had come into this major hard court tournament as a dark horse title contender after reaching the final of a key tune-up event in Cincinnati, said in the post-match press conference.
The Australian, one of the most talented players in tennis, was also extremely candid afterward about his lack of commitment to the sport.
In other action, Argentine 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro moved into the second round with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5) victory over Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen in the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem and Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov both looked impressive Wednesday in first-round victories in the Grandstand court.
The sixth-seeded Thiem routed Australian Alex De Minaur 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 51 minutes, while Dimitrov needed the exact same amount of time to dismiss the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Safranek 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.