Wednesday was a day full of surprises in the US Open, as 7 out of 15 matches played have ended up with the victories of players rated lower by the pre-match odds. The most notable surprise was a victory of Caroline Wozniacki, who has eliminated the world's number 11 and this year's Miami Open champion - Petra Kvitova. It was a 5th match played by the Dane after her comeback from retirement. Wozniacki, who received a wild card into main draw of US Open, was rated with an odd 3.40 ahead of the clash against the Czech. The match has started for the favour of Kvitova, who moved up into break lead twice, but Wozniacki fought back in the decisive games of this set to take it by 7-5. The former world's number one followed the blow in second set and took the initiative, creating the opportunities during her opponent's serve from the start. Wozniacki has moved up into 4-2 lead, but Kvitova leveled the score a game later. The Czech was serving under pressure in the later stages of this set, as she needed to defend two matchpoints within own serve in 10th game. Despite staying alive there and forcing a tiebreak, Wozniacki secured the surprising straight sets victory, being on a front foot from the start of 13th game. 7-5 7-6(5) is the final score.
This was not the biggest upset on paper though, as Lin Zhu defeated Victoria Azarenka while being rated by 3.60 before the match. The Chinese approached New York after performing a good run in Cleveland, where she advanced into semis, defeating Caroline Garcia on the road, for instance. It was a stunning performance showed by Zhu, who completely outplayed her titled opponent on Wednesday. The world's number 44 won in straight sets, not losing any single service game and creating 12 breakpoints in compare to just 3 of Azarenka, who was able to make any danger just in the last game of whole the match. That was an erratic match played by the Belarusian, who commited 31 unforced errors in compare to 17 winners. 7 of those were double faults during the serve, which was Azarenka's vulnerability this day, including a very low 38% of 2nd serve points win percentage. Zhu was much more consistent with 14 winners and 15 unforced errors in general.
Mertens comes out of trouble another time
Elise Mertens is surely the player, who took the most bumpy road while heading into 3rd round of the US Open 2023. The Belgian has denied the upset against the world's number 155 and a qualifier - Mirjam Bjorklund, during the first round's match, where she prevailed after 3:15 hours of fight despite defending 3 matchpoints. The task was supposed to be much more difficult in second round, as Mertens faced Danielle Collins. The American showed an impressive display of tennis during her previous match against Linda Fruhvirtova and was seemingly raising up with her form, while looking very dangerous on the court against top notch players, especially during the WTA 1000 tournament in Montreal played earlier in August.
Collins was a favorite of this match and confirmed her great abilities in the opening set. "Danimal" was absolutely stunning there, scoring multiple winners, being a dominant force on the court and striking wonderful shots from both the forehand and backhand in various positions. Mertens was looking as outplayed by her in-form opponent, and the second set has started with a simillar way. Collins moved up into break lead twice, but her consistency has visibly dropped down in compare to the form displayed in first set. The reliability of her serve was one of the factors, which helped Mertens to level the score twice. Collins was still on fire in the open play and had opportunities to regain the advantage, but Mertens has started to capitalize on the falling confidence in the strokes of her opponent, and surprisingly forced the tiebreak. Collins had a great chance to close the match there, while being *7-6 up, but lost two own service points after missing the shots by the inches. This has miraculously kept Mertens alive in this match, as she prevailed to move the settlement into 3rd set.
After an epic second set, which lasted almost 1,5 hours, the last one was a bit one-sided. Mertens has successfully executed the tactics of playing the rallies patiently with pushing the slow balls on the baseline, while Collins struggled with her confidence, which resulted in many unforced errors commited during her shots. Mertens moved up into double break advantage and kept it till the end, winning this entertaining battle by 3-6 7-6(7) 6-1.
Ostapenko wins despite 80 errors
Jelena Ostapenko has played one of the craziest matches in the women's tournament so far. The 20th seed denied an upset from Elina Avanesyan in a three-setter, winning by 6-3 5-7 7-5. Ostapenko was a dominant force throught whole the match and could end this up much earlier, while leading 5-2 in second set. The Russian managed to make up the one break gap and surprisingly forced a decider after winning 5 games in a row. Despite outplaying her opponent in every set, Ostapenko did not help herself to avoid a stressful settlment in this match because of a ton errors commited, especially in second and third set. The Latvian ended up the match with a stunning count of 57 winners, outclassing her opponent, who managed to score just 11 winners. The statistic of unforced errors was even more shocking though, as Ostapenko made 80 (!) unforced errors, and prevailed to win a match despite this.
Brady's great comeback
The comeback of Jennifer Brady was one of the headlines during the August's hard courts swing, as the 2021 Australian Open runner-up came back to the competition after 2 years of break caused by the major foot injury. Despite such a long time outside of the professional courts, Brady has impressed the fans with the ability of playing well against world's top class players. The American has defeated Jelena Ostapenko and took Elena Rybakina for the whole distance during the tournament in Montreal. Brady has started her US Open campaign on a front foot, winning in straight sets against the qualifier Kimberly Birrell. Magda Linette was her opponent in second round. The Pole who has surprisingly reached out the semifinals in Australian Open, did not achieve any great results in recent time, and Brady was a favorite ahead of the match against her, related to odds. The American made her job done well, winning by 6-1 2-6 6-2. Brady sets up an interesting match-up against Caroline Wozniacki in 3rd round.
Favorites move on
Apart from some upsets happened here and there, all the top contenders from the draw's top half have comfortably advanced into 3rd round. Iga Swiatek continues her title defence quest without any issues, but the Australian - Daria Saville, showed up really well against the world's number one, winning 7 games during the whole match, which ended up after two really competitive sets played. Swiatek meets the qualifier Kaja Juvan in 3rd round.
Cori Gauff performed some kind of slow start against Laura Siegemund in first round, but had no trouble to overcome the youngster Mirra Andreeva in second round. Gauff won by 6-3 6-2 and meets with Elise Mertens in 3rd round. The Belgian has denied an electric all-American clash between Gauff and Collins by performing her heroic win, described above in the article. Elena Rybakina did not need to show up on court on Wednesday, as her opponent Alja Tomljanovic withdrew from the tournament. The Australian came back on court after the long knee injury and pulled out due to precautionary reasons after winning her first match after comeback. Karolina Muchova scored a routine win over Magdalena Frech, moving past third round with a score 6-3 6-3. Belinda Bencic is also yet to lose a set in New York, as she defeated the qualifier Yuriko Miyazaki by 6-3 6-3.