Shock waves hit U.S. Open as Halep, Kerber and Venus fall

Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:02pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shock waves hit the U.S. Open on Friday as veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni spearheaded a series of stunning third-round surprises that claimed two of the top women's seeds and seven-times grand slam winner Venus Williams.

Lucic-Baroni ousted second seed Simona Halep, Italy's Sara Errani posted her first career win over Williams and Swiss teen Belinda Bencic ousted sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber on a sunny day that opened up the women's draw.

Croatian Lucic-Baroni, a 32-year-old qualifier ranked 121st in the world, dismissed Romania's Halep 7-6 (6) 6-2 to reach the fourth round for her best grand slam result since a 1999 run to the Wimbledon semi-finals.

With nothing to lose, Lucic-Baroni cut loose and rifled in 31 winners against Halep, who was on the defensive throughout the 94-minute grandstand match.

Bencic, 17, last year's French Open and Wimbledon junior champion, defeated Kerber 6-1 7-5 to reach the round of 16 in her U.S. Open debut.

Lucic-Baroni's next opponent will be 13th seed Errani, whose passage into the round of 16 was not as startling as the Croat's dismantling of a world number two 10 years her junior, but a surprise nonetheless.

Errani, loser of all three previous singles matches against Williams in straight sets, outdueled the seven-times grand slam winner in a thrilling third-set tiebreaker to win their roller-coaster clash 6-0 0-6 7-6 (5).

Two other veterans also advanced.   Continued...

Aug 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Sara Errani (ITA) celebrates after defeating Venus Williams (USA) on day five of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports