Former teen sensation Lucic-Baroni stuns World No 2 to enter fourth round of US Open
New York: World number two Simona Halep and two-time champion Venus Williams tumbled out of the US Open on Friday, but Maria Sharapova bucked the upset trend that rocked the women's draw.
Simona Halep serves against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (inset) on Friday. Pic/Getty Images
Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, a former phenom now a 32-year-old veteran who had to fight through qualifying, shocked second-seeded Halep, the French Open runner-up, 7-6 (6), 6-2.
"It's incredible, amazing, I feel goofy," said Lucic-Baroni, who reached a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time since making it to the 1999 Wimbledon semi-finals as a 17-year-old.
The reward for the 121st-ranked Lucic-Baroni is a fourth-round meeting with 13th-seeded Italian Sara Errani, who thwarted Williams 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5).
Bencic upsets Kerber
At the other end of the age spectrum, Swiss 17-year-old Belinda Bencic toppled sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber 6-1, 7-5.
Bencic, the 2013 Wimbledon and French Open junior champion, now ranked 58th in the world, earned a meeting with former world number one Jelena Jankovic, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Sweden's Johanna Larsson.
After dropping the lopsided first set, Kerber appeared poised to knot the match, but she couldn't convert three set points. Bencic, coached by former Swiss great Martina Hingis' mother Melanie Molitor, seized her chance.
The last Grand Slam of the year has now lost four of its top 10 women's seeds, after the second-round departures of Agnieszka Radwanska and Ana Ivanovic.
Sharapova also found herself in a power struggle, but emerged with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over German 26th seed Sabine Lisicki.
Women's singles (third round): Belinda Bencic beat Angelique Kerber (6) 6-1, 7-5 ; Jelena Jankovic (9) beat Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-0; Maria Sharapova (5) beat Sabine Lisicki (26) 6-2, 6-4; Caroline Wozniacki (10) beat Andrea Petkovic (18) 6-3, 6-2; Sara Errani (13) beat Venus Williams (19) 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5); Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat Simona Halep (2) 7-6 (6), 6-2.
Men's singles (second round): Tomas Berdych (6) beat Martin Klizan 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Marin Cilic (14) beat Illya Marchenko 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-4; Feliciano Lopez (19) beat Tatsuma Ito 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4)