Shock at US Open as women’s top seed Pliskova bows out

The US Open has seen the shock of the tournament on day three, with women’s singles top seed Karolina Pliskova knocked out in straight sets.

The women’s draw, already missing the likes of world number one Ash Barty, former number one Simona Halep and defending champion Bianca Andreescu, now opens up further with the defeat of Czech player Pliskova by France’s Caroline Garcia 6-1, 7-6 (7/2).

Pliskova — herself a former world number one — had no answer to the power of Garcia, who sent down 30 winners to the Czech’s 13.

Garcia raced out of the blocks, opening up a 5-0 lead in the first set and Pliskova was helpless in the face of her unseeded opponent’s relentless onslaught.

Pliskova, who was dumped out in the opening round of last week’s Western and Southern Open tournament, fought back in the second set to force a tie-break but the end result was never in doubt.

“It was very close to going into a third set and I was ready for it. She didn’t play badly,” said Garcia, who celebrated her victory by running the breadth of the court with her arms outstretched.

“I stuck to my game plan and every point was very important. Now I can take confidence from a good win against a top player.”

The women’s top seed has not won the title at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams in 2014 and Garcia ensured the trend continued with a stunning performance.

She broke Pliskova in the Czech’s first two service games, quickly going 4-0 up, and rallies were in short supply as Garcia used her power to fire angled returns past her bewildered opponent.

A tennis player holds her arms out to the side while grinning madly after her win at the US Open.

A tennis player holds her arms out to the side while grinning madly after her win at the US Open.

Caroline Garcia could not contain her excitement after downing Karolina Pliskova at Flushing Meadows.(AP: Seth Wenig)

The Frenchwoman ended the opening set with 15 winners to Pliskova’s one and started the second with another break of serve.

The top seed grew visibly frustrated as the match wore on, at one point smashing her racquet after her opponent chased down a shot into the open court to deliver a perfect cross-court return.

Pliskova recovered from 2-1 down in the second set and briefly put Garcia on the backfoot, taking a 5-4 lead before the Frenchwoman saved two set points and held serve to force the tie-break, which she dominated.

Garcia will face American Jennifer Brady in the third round.

American 13th seed Alison Riske also headed for the exit, losing 6-0, 6-3 to unseeded compatriot Ann Li, and Kazakh 11th seed Elena Rybakina was beaten 7-5, 6-1 by another American, Shelby Rogers.

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It wasn’t all doom for the women’s seeds, however.

Fourth seed Naomi Osaka took just 70 minutes to defeat Italy’s Camila Georgi 6-1, 6-2.

The 2018 champion at Flushing Meadows raced out of the blocks, winning more than half of all points on Georgi’s serve in the first set as she took two of her four break point opportunities.

Osaka improved her serve in the second set, getting 68 per cent of her first serves in and sending down three aces as she wrapped up the match with a minimum of fuss.

Sixth seed Petra Kvitova overcame Ukrainian player Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, eighth seed Petra Martic dismissed Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3, 6-4 and Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit (14) advanced after beating Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 6-4, 6-1.

Thompson the first Australian into third round

Australian Davis Cup star Jordan Thompson is a win away from his career-best grand slam run after marching into the US Open third round for the first time.

Thompson overcame a third-set blip to beat Egor Gerasimov of Belarus 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to equal his foray to the round of 32 at last year’s French Open.

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The 26-year-old Sydneysider next plays Kazakhstan’s world number 90 Mikhail Kukushkin with a golden opportunity to reach the second week in New York.

Kukushkin outlasted Chilean 13th seed Christian Garin 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in an epic five-setter lasting two minutes shy of four hours.

Thompson was most impressive on serve against Gerasimov, firing down eight aces, not double-faulting once and being broken only twice in two-and-three-quarter hours.

He constantly had the Belarusian under pressure, converting five of 14 break-point opportunities of his own while offsetting 29 unforced errors with 29 clean winners.

Gerasimov couldn’t match Thompson from the back either, ultimately paying the price for 51 unforced errors trying to go with the Australian.

Thompson is guaranteed a $222,000 pay cheque for his breakout effort at Flushing Meadows and will pocket a minimum $340,000 if he wins his next match on Saturday.

Thompson’s projected fourth-round opponent is Greek number four seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Thompson is the only Australian in action on day three, with Alex de Minaur, John Millman and his Sydney hitting partner Chris O’Connell all playing second-round matches on Friday.

Wires/ABC