Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber toppled, valiant Venus Williams falls at US Open
The US Open women's draw was blown wide open as world number two Simona Halep, sixth seed Angelique Kerber and two-time champion Venus Williams tumbled out of the third round.
New York: The US Open women's draw was blown wide open as world number two Simona Halep, sixth seed Angelique Kerber and two-time champion Venus Williams tumbled out of the third round.
Two players at opposite ends of the tennis age spectrum authored the upsets of the day.
Croatian veteran 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.
And 17-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic toppled Germany's Kerber 6-1, 7-5.
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).
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 for a place in the quarter-finals.
"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.
"After so many years, it's incredible. I live for this," she said. "I am 32. Every painful moment has been worth it."
The last Grand Slam of the year has now lost four of it's top 10 women's seeds, after the second-round departures of Agnieszka Radwanska and Ana Ivanovic.
Former champion and fifth seed Maria Sharapova was trying to buck the upset trend later Thursday when she took on big-hitting German Sabine Lisicki under the floodlights on Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
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, five-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.