World No. 1s Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams advanced safely to the next round of the US Open on Saturday, but the women’s draw saw yet another big upset as Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova was sent packing by a 145th-ranked qualifier.
Third-seeded Kvitova fell victim to 21-year-old Serbian Aleksandra Krunic, leaving only three of the top eight women’s seeds still in the tournament. Simona Halep (2nd), Agnieszka Radwanska (4th), Angelique Kerber (6th) and Ana Ivanovic (8th) have already been shown the door.
While the women’s draw has been ravaged by upsets the top 10 men are still in the hunt, with No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5 Milos Raonic, eighth seed Andy Murray and No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all moving on.
The shock of the day was delivered by the little-known Krunic, who stung the unsteady Kvitova 6-4, 6-4.
The diminutive Serbian, who aims to graduate from university this year with a degree in economics, was a blur as she sprinted and slid into splits while stretching for returns.
“It was an honor for me to be on the same court as Petra, who is a great champion,” said Krunic, who will come up against Victoria Azarenka in the next round. “Of course, I didn’t expect to win. Of course, I hoped to. I’m very happy.”
Two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka secured her spot in the last 16 with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Russian Elena Vesnina.
Eugenie Bouchard, a semi-finalist in the previous three Grand Slams, including a runner-up finish at Wimbledon, had to fight to keep from joining the list of upsets, the seventh-seeded Canadian holding her nerve to earn a 6-2, 7-6 (2/7), 6-4 win over Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
Williams is the last American standing at the US Open after the remaining home-grown hopefuls said goodbye to Flushing Meadows on Saturday.
A total of 29 Americans (12 men, 17 women) started the year’s final Grand Slam on Monday last week and by the time the gates to the US National Tennis Center closed on Saturday, only the world No. 1 was still in the hunt for a singles title.
The last two US hopes of the men’s draw, 13th seed John Isner and Sam Querrey, both bowed out in the third round, while Nicole Gibbs and Varvara Lepchenko also made third-round exits, leaving home fans pinning their hopes on Williams heading into the second week.
Five-time US Open champion Williams played her part in the US demise, dispatching three of her compatriots in rapid succession.
After dismissing Taylor Townsend in the opening round and Vania King in the second, Williams chased the 52nd ranked Lepchenko with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Williams, who has failed to reach the quarter-finals of any of the previous three Grand Slams this year, was just happy not to be one of the US casualties.
Djokovic, a US Open finalist the last four years and winner in 2011, has also done his part to spoil the US’ Grand Slam party.
The Serb squashed another US hope on Saturday, pounding Querrey 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the fourth round for the eighth straight year while improving his record to a perfect 8-0 when facing US opponents at Flushing Meadows.
Isner bombarded Philipp Kohlschreiber with 42 aces and never lost his serve but still dropped a 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4) decision to the German.
Briton Murray, the 2012 Open champion and last year’s Wimbledon winner, double-faulted to send his match to a fourth set, then swiftly took charge in a 6-1, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.