Aug 30 (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova suffered surprise defeats in the U.S. Open second round action on Thursday, while holder Naomi Osaka cruised through to the last 32.
American qualifier Taylor Townsend came back from a set down to beat fourth seed Halep 2-6 6-3 7-6(4) to consign the Romanian to a third straight early exit at Flushing Meadows.
In a dramatic final set, Halep failed to capitalise on a match point before Townsend won in a tiebreak for her first career win over a top 10 player.
“This match gives me so much confidence that I can do it,” world number 116 Townsend said.
“When I’ve played Halep before I tried to make balls and played not to lose. Today I played to win.”
Czech sixth seed Kvitova, who has been struggling with a forearm injury this season, was far from her best in a 6-4 6-4 defeat by German Andrea Petkovic.
After struggling with nerves in her gruelling first-round match, defending champion Osaka stayed composed in a 6-2 6-4 win over Poland’s Magda Linette.
Osaka will next face 15-year-old Coco Gauff after the American edged past Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-2 4-6 6-4.
Men’s sixth seed Alexander Zverev was taken to a deciding fifth set for a second consecutive match as he overcame American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 3-6 6-2 2-6 6-3.
Three-times champion Rafa Nadal got a walkover into the third round after Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrew with a right shoulder injury.
After landing in hot water for calling the ATP “corrupt” earlier this week, Australian Nick Kyrgios let his racket do the talking as he fired 24 aces in a convincing 6-4 6-2 6-4 win over unseeded Frenchman Antoine Hoang.
Highlights of the fourth day at the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Thursday (times GMT):
Croatia’s Marin Cilic recovered after dropping the first set to beat German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-3.
The 2014 champion will next face 14th seeded American John Isner for a place in the second week of the tournament.
Kyrgios brushes off collar row to reach third round
Fighting Coco sets up Osaka showdown at U.S. Open
Nadal gets walkover into U.S. Open third round
Halep’s horrors abound in Flushing Meadows
Wozniacki safely into third round with win over Collins
Osaka stays calm to see off Linette
Tired Murray loses in third round of Rafa Nadal Open
Suarez Navarro fined $40,000 after retiring in U.S. Open first round
Townsend finds secret to success at the net in Halep upset
U.S. Open order of play on Friday
Djokovic, Serena return to court in Day Five action
Medvedev overcomes cramps to reach U.S. Open third round
Petkovic stuns Kvitova at U.S. Open
Zverev outlasts Tiafoe in scorching five-setter
Teen sensation Coco Gauff continued another impressive run at a Grand Slam with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory over Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos, setting up a third round clash with defending champion Naomi Osaka.
The 15-year-old American became the youngest woman to reach the last-32 at Flushing Meadows since Anna Kournikova in 1996.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki rallied from a set down to beat American Danielle Collins 4-6 6-3 6-4.
The 2018 Australian Open champion has reached the semi-finals or better at the U.S. Open five times and moved within one win of returning to the second week of the tournament.
Nick Kyrgios kept a lid on his temper and served up a masterclass to beat France’s Antoine Hoang 6-4 6-2 6-4.
The fiery Australian 28th seed sent down 24 aces, including one on his second serve, and cracked 40 winners to reach the third round, where he will face unseeded Russian Andrey Rublev.
France’s Gael Monfils pulled off a routine 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Romanian Marius Copil.
The 13th seed will face Canadian Denis Shapovalov in round three. Shapovalov beat Swiss Henri Laaksonen earlier in the day.
Second seed Rafa Nadal was handed a walkover by Thanasi Kokkinakis after the Australian withdrew from their second round match on Arthur Ashe Stadium with a right shoulder injury.
Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic beat France’s Alize Cornet 6-4 1-6 6-2 to set up a third-round meeting with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit.
Bencic, who last reached the third round in 2016, returned superbly throughout, and converted three of the 12 break point opportunities she carved out.
Dutch seventh seed Kiki Bertens beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-4 and will meet 26th seed Julia Goerges next.
Germany’s Goerges sent down 30 winners en route to defeating American Francesca Di Lorenzo 7-5 6-0.
Hard-hitting Jelena Ostapenko crushed American Alison Riske 6-4 6-3 to reach the third round for the third consecutive year.
The Latvian racked up 17 double faults and 53 unforced errors but still had too much raw power for Riske, sending down 25 winners to her opponent’s eight.
Romanian fourth seed Simona Halep crashed out in the second round after losing 2-6 6-3 7-6(4) to Taylor Townsend.
The 23-year-old American struck 39 winners to Halep’s 23, won 17 points at the net and held her nerve in a thrilling third set tiebreak to advance despite making 42 unforced errors.
Ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus was dumped out in the second round after losing 6-3 7-6(3) to Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.
Sabalenka made 52 unforced errors, compared to 13 by Putintseva, who hit only 10 winners in the match.
Big-serving John Isner overpowered Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5) to advance to the third round.
The American 14th seed fired 22 aces to take his tournament tally to 51 in two matches.
Aljaz Bedene won a tight five-setter against 29th seed Benoit Paire, coming from two sets down to beat the Frenchman 4-6 6-7(3) 6-2 7-5 7-6(4).
The Slovenian will meet sixth seed Alexander Zverev in round three.
Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, the 15th seed, earned a second consecutive straight sets victory at Flushing Meadows, beating Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 7-5.
The 19-year-old scorched the court with 28 winners and six aces and claimed another 11 points at the net to set up a potential third round clash with either Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki or American Danielle Collins.
Fifth seed Daniil Medvedev fought through what appeared to be bouts of cramp in the third and fourth sets to beat Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien 6-3 7-5 5-7 6-3 on Grandstand.
The Russian was solid from the baseline, striking 55 winners and 16 aces, and will face Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in round three.
Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 champion, beat Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-3 6-7(3) 6-3 to progress to the third round. The Swiss struck 45 winners and won seven of 11 points at the net to secure the win in two hours, 44 minutes.
1930 ZVEREV WINS HIS SECOND FIVE-SETTER
Sixth seed Alexander Zverev won his second consecutive five-setter of the tournament, beating American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 3-6 6-2 2-6 3-6.
German Zverev struggled to land his first serve at times, but still fired 22 aces and 63 winners and will face Aljaz Bedene in the third round.
Estonian Anett Kontaveit bounced back to beat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 7-5 6-2. The 21st seed sent down 11 aces and 38 winners, while Tomljanovic made 40 unforced errors.
Elise Mertens, the 25th seed, brushed aside Kristyna Pliskova 6-2 6-2 to reach the third round, where she will face Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.
The Belgian is yet to drop serve at Flushing Meadows this year and saved all four break points she faced against Pliskova.
Britain’s Johanna Konta beat Margarita Gasparyan 6-1 6-0, smashing 24 winners past the hapless Russian and converting six of 10 break points in a 54-minute match.
Dan Evans beat France’s 25th seed Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-3 6-7(4) 6-4 to move into the third round where the unseeded Briton will meet Roger Federer.
Defending champion Naomi Osaka breezed into the third round with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Poland’s Magda Linette.
Osaka won 83% of her first service points and converted four of six break points. She could potentially face Coco Gauff who plays later on Thursday.
Australian Alex de Minaur beat Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-3 7-5 6-3 to advance.
Garin, the 31st seed, made 51 unforced errors, nearly three times as many as De Minaur, who has now reached the third round two years in succession.
American Sofia Kenin was tested by Germany’s Laura Siegemund in the opening set but quickly wrapped up the second with a 7-6(4) 6-0 victory to move into the next round.
Meanwhile, China’s Wang Qiang overcame the challenge of Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck with a 7-5 6-4 win. Both players smashed 19 winners each but the Belgian’s 37 unforced errors proved to be her downfall.
Petra Kvitova became the first top 10 seed in the women’s draw to be knocked out as Germany’s Andrea Petkovic toppled the sixth seed 6-4 6-4.
Although Kvitova had 23 winners, nearly twice the number of her opponent, it was Petkovic who converted three of six break points to move into the third round.
Belgium’s David Goffin brushed aside France’s Gregoire Barrere with a crushing 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory in a match that lasted 85 minutes.
Goffin, the 15th seed, fired eight aces and broke the Frenchman seven times, winning 14 of his 16 net points to advance.
After rain wreaked havoc on Wednesday’s schedule, play began on Thursday under bright sunshine with the temperature hovering around 23 degrees Celsius (73.4°F) and a forecast high of 29C.
Czech sixth seed Petra Kvitova kicks things off at Louis Armstrong stadium against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic while in the men’s draw sixth seed Alexander Zverev takes on American Frances Tiafoe on Arthur Ashe Stadium. (Compiled by Rohith Nair, Simon Jennings and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond)