New York: China`s Peng Shuai put a stop to Agnieszka Radwanska`s bid to reverse her US Open fortunes on Wednesday, toppling the fourth seed in three sets to reach the third round.
Poland`s Radwanska, a former Wimbledon finalist who counts this year`s Australian Open among two other Grand Slam semi-final appearances, had hoped to make it past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows in her ninth attempt.
But the 39th-ranked Peng had other ideas, breaking Radwanska three times en route to a victory sealed with a backhand winner on her third match point -- her 28th winner of the contest.
"She`s tough to play," said Peng, who beat Radwanska at the same stage of the US Open in 2010.
Peng thought that coincidence might be a lucky talisman, but her biggest memory of playing Radwanska was a 2011 Australian Open loss in which she squandered two match points.
"I kept running, I fought. It was amazing. I will try to keep going," Peng said.
Radwanska, meanwhile, couldn`t put her finger on her US Open trouble.
"I really want to know the answer, then maybe I will find a way to play better here and just try another way to be in the second week," she said.
With two-time defending champion Serena Williams taking the day off, French Open finalists Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep, and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams headlined women`s second-round action.
Fifth-seeded Sharapova, who lifted a fifth career Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros, was to take on Alexandra Dulgheru, the Romanian world number 95.
World number two Halep, seeded second behind two-time defending champion Serena Williams, needed less than an hour to advance with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Slovakian Jana Cepelova.
Halep was broken early to trail 0-2, but won 12 of the next 13 games to secure the win.
Sweden`s Johanna Larsson and Swiss teen Belinda Bencic sprung minor upsets. Larsson rallied to beat 21st-seeded American Sloane Stephens 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 while 17-year-old Bencic, ranked 58th in the world, joined the youth movement spearheaded by 15-year-old CiCi Bellis by ousting Japanese 31 seed Kurumi Nara 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
Sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber advanced on cue, downing Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2, 6-4 in a match that saw seven breaks of serve, and French 22nd seed Alize Cornet defeated Slovakia`s Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3,
The biggest names of the men`s field -- Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray also had Wednesday off.
Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka, the third seed from Switzerland, headlined the night session, taking on Brazil`s Thomaz Bellucci in one of two men`s second-round matches on the slate.
Wawrinka`s triumph in Melbourne broke a streak of 16 straight Grand Slam titles won by tennis` Big Four of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray.
That major breakthrough was followed by a first-round exit at the French Open and a first quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon.
Sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych brought Lleyton Hewitt`s 62nd Grand Slam appearance to a quick end, downing the former world number one, and 2001 champion, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the second round.
The 33-year-old Hewitt, who has had five surgeries in five years to keep his career going, had early breaks in both the second and third sets, but couldn`t deny Berdych a 100th career Grand Slam match win.
Berdych became the ninth active men`s player to reach the milestone -- an exclusive club that naturally includes Hewitt himself.
Croatia`s 14th seed Marin Cilic, who reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon, reached the second round with a truncated victory over Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist who was trailing 6-3, 3-1 in their match when he retired.
Spanish 19th seed Feliciano Lopez advanced when Croatian Ivan Dodig retired with their match knotted a 1-1 in the fifth set.
Dodig also retired at both the Australian and French Opens, and was a no-show at Wimbledon due to injury.
Seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, trying to win his first US Open match after first-round exits the past three years, takes on US wildcard Ryan Harrison.