Sorana Cirstea became the latest player to knock out a seed at the US Open, with the Romanian rallying from a set and a break down to upset ninth seed Johanna Konta and reach the third round in New York.
Cirstea was a significant underdog coming into this contest. The Romanian, ranked 77th, is 64 spots below Konta in the rankings and had lost both previous meetings in straight sets to the Brit, who was in form after a run to the last four at the Western & Southern Open.
After a break apiece in the opening four games, it was Konta who took control of the opening set. The ninth seed consolidated a second break of the Cirstea serve to lead 4-2 and proceeded to break again, with the Romanian unable to find any consistency in her service games. Konta served out the opener in just 39 minutes.
It appeared that Konta would race to victory as she broke in the third game of the second set, though Cirstea responded immediately with a break back. The Romanian restored some confidence to her serve after this, denying Konta the opportunity to serve for the match by saving break points at 4-4 and 5-5, and then took control of the ensuing tiebreak. An ace on her fourth set point forced a decider.
Much like the previous two sets there was an early exchange of breaks in the decider, with Konta restoring parity by breaking the Romanian’s serve for 2-2. The decisive moment came at 3-3 when, after missing five break point opportunities, Cirstea’s renewed aggression paid off as she broke and held from 0-40 down to hold for a 5-3. Konta showed her steel to save two match points on her serve, but a perfect service game from Cirstea sealed a gruelling 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 win for the Romanian.
It was one of the best contests of the tournament so far, lasting over two hours and 40 minutes, and also provided one of the most surprising results of the tournament with Cirstea having shown little form in recent seasons. The Romanian will face another tough battle in the third round against 20th seed Karolina Muchova.