The top half of the women's draw was in action on Wednesday as the second round of the US Open got underway with the most notable result being world number one Karolina Pliskova being upset by Caroline Garcia.
Among the seeded winners were fourth seed Naomi Osaka, sixth seed Petra Kvitova, eighth seed Petra Martic and 17th seed Angelique Kerber. Americans had an excellent day, going 5-2 with 28th seed Jennifer Brady joined by Shelby Rogers, Ann Li, Madison Brengle and Jessica Pegula in the third round.
Garcia sends Pliskova packing; Osaka, Kvitova, Kerber through in straight sets
World number 50 Garcia produced a brilliant performance to knock Pliskova out 6-1, 7-6 (2). The Czech suffered the earliest loss by a top seed at Flushing Meadows since Ana Ivanovic lost in the second round in 2008. Her serve was broken by the Frenchwoman three times in the first set and again to begin the second.
Pliskova broke midway through the second set and held a pair of set points at 5-4 only to make unforced errors on both chances. The set went to a tiebreaker, which was dominated by Garcia, who won the last five points to move on to the third round for the fourth time in the last five years.
"It's top players, so if you wait for the mistake, it's never going to happen", she said. "If you let Pliskova breeze and take your serve, you're never going to make a return, and then it's 6-4, 6-4 and you're done in an hour. So you have to make her in trouble.
"That's what it was like and it was a great challenge for me. I did well in this challenge and I can take the happiness for it, and now i'm after another one."
Osaka had little trouble with Camila Giorgi, blasting the Italian 6-1, 6-2 after just 70 minutes under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Racing out to a 5-0 lead with just four unforced errors, she closed out the set two games later.
A break early in the second set was followed by a second break for a 5-2 lead and some big serving both saved a break point when serving for the match and on match point as the 2018 champion maintained her perfect record over the first two rounds at the US Open in her career.
"I think for me, it's just whenever I step on the court I don't think about anything but the match", she assessed after her victory. "Any off-court things, of course it's great motivation for me to want to do well this tournament, but for the most part I feel like i've been in quarantine and practicing so long that, I don't know, I prefer to play matches.
"For me, I just think about what I could do to make myself a better player, what I can do to win the match at a time."
Kerber struggled with countrywoman Anna-Lena Friedsam before ultimately prevailing 6-3, 7-6 (6). A topsy-turvy first set saw the three-time major champion jump out to a quick 2-0 lead, watch Friedsam break back in the fifth game then breaking again to go ahead 5-3 and serving out the set a game later.
Early breaks were exchanged in the second set which was followed by ten consecutive holds of serve to send the set to a tiebreaker. One minibreak, which went to Kerber at 6-6, made the difference and the 17th seed clinched victory a point later.
"For me, it's really important to go on court and play the tennis i'm playing in practice, that I know I can play and focusing on my matches", she said afterwards. "The six months [away], they showed me how much everything can be changing. So it's really important for me now to enjoy my time, and have a good team around me - which I have right now.
"You know, I know I can play tennis, but there are so many things around that has to be good as well, not only hitting balls. I'm trying to enjoy the tennis, and also enjoy the time off court. It's the journey, and i'm trying to have fun every single day here."
Americans shine on Wednesday
There were a pair of all-American matchups with Li stunning 13th seed Alison Riske 6-0, 6-3 while Brady handled Catherine Bellis 6-1, 6-2. Rogers also advanced with a 7-5, 6-1 upset of 11th seed Elena Rybakina while Brengle routed 19th seed Dayana Yastremska. Pegula came through a tough three-set contest against Kirsten Flipkens, edging the Belgian 7-6 (1), 6-7 (3), 6-3.
Kvitová, Martic headline other winners
The sixth-seeded Czech fell behind against Kateryna Kozlova, broken in the first game of the match and watching as the Ukrainian served for the set at 5-4. Kvitová broke back and eventually took the set in a tiebreaker and ran through the second set to emerge with a 7-6 (3), 6-2 victory.
Eighth seed Martic scored a routine 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko while 14th seed Anett Kontaveit defeated Kaja Juvan 6-4, 6-1. 23rd seed Yulia Putintseva had little trouble with Vera Lapko, winning 6-3, 6-3 while 24th seed Magda Linette survived a tough encounter with Danka Kovinic, coming out on top 6-1, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4).
Among the seeds upset were 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova, who was crushed 6-1, 6-2 by Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-2, 30th seed Kristina Mladenovic, who blew a one-set lead to Varvara Gracheva in a 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-0 loss and 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova, who lost to Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 7-6 (5).