US Open

Sharapova bucks upsets trend

2014-08-30 07:14
Maria Sharapova (AFP)

New York - World number two Simona Halep and two-time champion Venus Williams tumbled out of the US Open on Friday, but Maria Sharapova bucked the upset trend that rocked the women's draw.

Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, a former phenom now a 32-year-old veteran who had to fight through qualifying, shocked second-seeded Halep, the French Open runner-up, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2.

"It's incredible, amazing, I feel goofy," said Lucic-Baroni, who reached a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time since making it to the 1999 Wimbledon semi-finals as a 17-year-old.

The reward for the 121st-ranked Lucic-Baroni is a fourth-round meeting with 13th-seeded Italian Sara Errani, who thwarted Williams 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (7/5).

At the other end of the age spectrum, Swiss 17-year-old Belinda Bencic toppled sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber 6-1, 7-5.

Bencic, the 2013 Wimbledon and French Open junior champion, now ranked 58th in the world, earned a meeting with former world number one Jelena Jankovic, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Sweden's Johanna Larsson.

After dropping the lopsided first set, Kerber appeared poised to knot the match, but she couldn't convert three set points.

Bencic, coached by former Swiss great Martina Hingis' mother Melanie Molitor, seized her chance.

"It's amazing that after last year I played juniors here, and this year I'm in the fourth round," Bencic said. "So it's incredible."

The last Grand Slam of the year has now lost four of its top 10 women's seeds, after the second-round departures of Agnieszka Radwanska and Ana Ivanovic.

Errani's triumph over 19th-seeded Williams wasn't strictly speaking an upset, but the 13th-seeded Italian had to dig deep to notch her first career victory over the American after three defeats.

"I know that was a really tough match, even if I won the first set 6-0 she's an amazing player," Errani said.

And as she expected, seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams battled back, racing through the second set to set up a third that turned into a slugfest.

Williams twice came back from a break down in the third, then broke Errani to serve for the match at 5-3.

She couldn't hang on, however, surrendering her serve as they battled to the tiebreaker, in which Errani took a 5-2 lead only for Williams to battle back to 5-5 before at last succumbing.

Errani was thrilled by the electric atmosphere in the Ashe stadium, even though she knew the frantic fans were for her opponent.

"Was unbelievable good," she said of the cheers ringing out as Williams had a chance to even the tiebreaker at 5-5. "I think I will remember forever that moment."

Sharapova also found herself in a power struggle, but emerged with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over German 26th seed Sabine Lisicki in a match which finished after midnight.

Both women had more unforced errors than winners - Sharapova by 32 to 20.

In a match that saw nine breaks of serve, Sharapova broke Lisicki in the final game to clinch the win when the German fired a forehand out on Sharapova's third match point.

"It was a really tough opponent I had today, a very aggressive, big server," Sharapova said. "I just tried to concentrate on my return, I wasn't serving as well as I wanted to."

China's Peng Shuai, showing no sign of a let-down after her second-round win over Radwanska, dispatched another seeded player in number 28 Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-3.

She set up a meeting with 14th-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova, a 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 winner over France's Alize Cornet.

Results on Friday from the fifth day of the US Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of 2014 (x denotes seeded player):


2nd rd

Tomas Berdych (CZE x6) bt Martin Klizan (SVK) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) bt Alexander Kudryavtsev (RUS) 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Feliciano Lopez (ESP x19) bt Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Dominic Thiem (AUT) bt Ernests Gulbis (LAT x11) 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3

Marin Cilic (CRO x14) bt Illya Marchenko (UKR) 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-4

Kevin Anderson (RSA x18) bt Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-1, 6-3

Gilles Simon (FRA x26) bt Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 (7/0), 6-1

David Ferrer (ESP x4) bt Bernard Tomic (AUS) - walkover

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x7) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2

David Goffin (BEL) bt Joao Sousa (POR x32) 6-4, 6-2, 6-0

Gael Monfils (FRA x20) bt Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) 7-5, 6-3, 6-2

Richard Gasquet (FRA x12) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-3

Adrian Mannarino (FRA) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x15) 6-3, 6-4, 6-1

Roberto Bautista (ESP x17) bt Tim Smyczek (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-1

Marcel Granollers (ESP) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO x25) 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-4

Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Sam Groth (AUS) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4


3rd rd

Belinda Bencic (SUI) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x6) 6-1, 7-5

Jelena Jankovic (SRB x9) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-1, 6-0

Lucie Safarova (CZE x14) bt Alize Cornet (FRA x22) 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4

Peng Shuai (CHN) bt Roberta Vinci (ITA x28) 6-4, 6-3

Maria Sharapova (RUS x5) bt Sabine Lisicki (GER x26) 6-2, 6-4

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x10) bt Andrea Petkovic (GER x18) 6-3, 6-2

Sara Errani (ITA x13) bt Venus Williams (USA x19) 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (7/5)

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) bt Simona Halep (ROM x2) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2

Read more on:    us open  |  maria sharapova  |  tennis

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