The carnage of the women’s bracket at the 2022 US Open continued on Wednesday as 3rd-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 to 75th-ranked 21-year-old Xiyu Wang of China.
Sakarri is now the fourth top-11 ranked woman to fall at the US Open after Simona Halep, Daria Kasatkina, and defending champion Emma Raducanu were all eliminated in the first round of the tournament.
Sakkari reached two Grand Slam semifinals last year, including at the US Open, but this year has been the exact opposite as this was the third time Sakkari has lost to a player ranked outside the top 50 at a Grand Slam this year.
“It’s disappointing, it hurts, because I was feeling better, I was enjoying myself, feeling good on the court, and it was just very disappointing that my level was that low today,” Sakkari said after the match.
Sakarri’s exit is good news for American Alison Riske-Amritraj, who need three sets to survive Colombian 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-5). Riske-Amritraj will now face Xang in round three and now has a much more viable path to the quarter-finals of the US Open.
A Great Day for Seeded American Woman
In addition to Riske-Amritraj, it was a good day for seeded American woman as Coco Gauff, Madison Keys, and Shelby Rogers all advanced to the third round.
Rogers was the first to earn a victory on the day, beating 183rd-ranked Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 7-5, 6-1. Rogers played solid, unwavering tennis, hitting 75% of her returns in and breaking Kuzmova six times.
Gauff also had a relatively easy time, dispatching Romanian Elena Gabriela Ruse 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). She also rocketed a serve 128 mph in the first set. “I’m not going for the fastest serve, to be honest,” said Gauff after the match. “Sometimes I say go hard body. I did see the serve clock afterward said 128. I looked at it and I was like, Whoa.”
While Gauff achieved new heights on Wednesday, Madison Keys survived based on her past experiences, edging out Italian Camila Giorgi 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (10-6). Keys also had a strong service match, but she was inconsistent from the baseline, often over-hitting shots, especially when Giorgi would keep her in long rallies.
Yet, the American kept fighting. Giorgi looked to have the match in the bag up 5-2 in the third set, but Keys would not be denied. In the end, her experience paid off. “I think it kind of was in the back of my mind that, Okay, I’ve been here before. We can get through this.”
Keys will not move on to take on Coco Gauff in the third round, while Shelby Rogers will face 5th-seeded Ons Jabeur.
Dreams Were Dashed in Round Two, but Andy Murray cruises again
Earlier in the day, we covered how American qualifier Brandon Holt saw his dreams dashed in a five-set thriller. Unfortunately, today also ended the tournament for fellow American qualifier Emilio Nava, who lost to Andy Murray in four sets.
After Nava won the first set 7-5, it seemed like the 20-year-old would push the British veteran. However, Murray didn’t flinch, showing incredible resolve and mental toughness as he turned the match back around quickly, eventually winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-0.
But that’s not to take anything away from Nava, who impressed the Brit with his performance early in the match. “His average first-serve speed would have put him in the top three in the world in the first set, and his forehand speed was the fastest of any of the players on the tour,” said Murray after the match. “So, you know, I have to give him credit for that, as well. He came out swinging.”
On the women’s side Ukranian’s Daria Snigur, who had knocked out 7th-seeded Simona Halep in round one, fell to 106th-ranked Rebecca Marino of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), and Great Britain’s Harriet Dart, who knocked out 10th-seed Daria Kasatkina on Monday lost to Hungarian Dalma Galfi 6-4, 6-0 on Wednesday.
Tommy Paul Survives Again
American Tommy Paul has not made his life easy so far in the US Open. After needing five sets to beat 79th-ranked Bernabe Zapata Miralles in round one, he needed five sets again to dispatch fellow American 52nd-ranked Sebastian Korda.
Paul cruised in the first set, winning 6-0 and looking like it might be an easy day at the office, but Korda would have none of it. The lower-ranked American hit 69% of his first serves and only double-faulted once to Paul’s five. Korda also hit 36 winners to Paul’s 31.
At the end of the day, Paul was able to scrape by with superior play at the net, converting 73% of his net chances, and also making the most of his break point chances. Paul made good on five of his 11 break point opportunities, while Korda capitalized on only two of his 13.
Paul will move onto the third round to face 5th-seed Casper Ruud of Norway, who beat Dutch player Tim van Rijthoven 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. It will be a crucial game for Paul since there is not a seeded player waiting for him if he were to win. After Brandon Holt knocked out Taylor Fritz on Monday and 21st-seed Botic van De Zandschulp lost today, Ruud and 13th-seed Matteo Berrettini are the only seeds left in Paul’s draw until the quarter-finals.
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