Serbian Aleksandra Krunic produced the first shock of the US Open as she rallied past British seventh seed Johanna Konta 4-6 6-3 6-4 on Monday to advance to the second round of the season’s final grand slam.
After first-round losses in her last two visits to Flushing Meadows, Krunic looked poised for yet another early exit after Konta, one of eight women here with a chance to leave New York with the world No.1 ranking, claimed a tight first set.
But the 78th-ranked Serb, who beat Petra Kvitova en route to reaching the last 16 in 2014, dug in to level the match.
In the third set it was Krunic who scored the decisive break to go up 4-2 and then held her nerve as she finished off her opponent on her second match point when Konta sent her return long and wide.
“I feel amazing, happy the way I played the way I fought,” Krunic said during her on-court interview. “I had to be at my best from the first point.
“Today it was all about intensity. I am proud of myself, I was tactically able to do the things I had in my head.”
It was a stunningly quick end for Wimbledon semi-finalist Konta, who had been expected to be among the title contenders after reaching the fourth round here the last two years.
The 26-year-old certainly had her chances.
After capitalising on all three break chances in the first set, Konta was unable to convert any of her three break points in the second.
“First rounds in every tournament, and especially at slams it can be tricky,” said Konta. “She played quite freely, and I think she was able to find her level much quicker and more consistently than I.”
Earlier, Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza needed just an hour to beat American Varvara Lepchenko and advance to the second round.
The third-seeded Spaniard looked efficient in the tournament’s first match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court, firing 16 winners, twice as many as her opponent, in the 6-0 6-3 victory.
Muguruza is arguably the hottest player on the women’s tour and is considered one of the favourites, despite never having been past the second round at Flushing Meadows.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the 13th seed, beat former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 7-5 7-5 on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Other matches involving seeded players to finish quickly during Monday’s opening session included 18th seed Caroline Garcia of France defeating Czech Tereza Martincova 6-0 6-1 and 31st seed Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia defeating Italian Camila Giorgi 6-3 6-4.
Julia Goerges, the 30th seed beat fellow German Annika Beck 6-1 6-0 but 24th seed Kiki Bertens was a casualty, losing 6-3 6-4 to Maria Sakkari of Greece.
American 18-year-old wildcard Sofia Kenin upset 32nd seed Lauren Davis 7-5 7-5 to reach the second round of a grand slam for the first time in her career.
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