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Wang Xiyu eliminates Maria Sakkari in U.S. Open upset

Aug 31, 2022; Flushing, NY, USA; Xiyu Wang (CHN) waves to the crowd after her match against Maria Sakkari (GRE) (not pictured) on day three of the 2022 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

China’s Wang Xiyu delivered a big upset on Wednesday by dispatching third-seeded Maria Sakkari 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the U.S. Open in New York.

Sakkari was a U.S. Open semifinalist last year but struggled to find her groove against Wang while experiencing a dreadful setback.

The Greek also said she has struggled mentally since rising up the rankings and didn’t want to leave her bed some days.

“It’s disappointing, it hurts, because I was feeling better, I was enjoying myself, feeling good on the court, and it was just very disappointing that my level was that low today,” Sakkari said afterward.

The victory was the 75th-ranked Wang’s first over a top-10 player. The 21-year-old will face 29th-seeded Alison Riske-Amritraj in the third round after the American produced a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) over Colombia’s Camila Osorio.

Wang overcame 12 double faults to dispose of Sakkari. Both players hit 35 winners and were close in unforced errors — Sakkari had 36, Wang 35.

Sakkari’s loss came hours before legend Serena Williams was set to take the court. Williams faces second-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

Americans Madison Keys and Coco Gauff will be squaring off in a third-round tussle after their respective wins on Wednesday.

The 20th-seeded Keys had to rally in the final set to post a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6) win over Italy’s Camili Giorgi, while the 12th-seeded Gauff beat Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Keys trailed 5-2 in the third set before winning four of the next five games to force the tiebreak.

“I was just telling myself to keep my legs moving and try to swing at the ball,” Keys said afterward. “Just not overthink things.”

Keys had an 8-0 edge in aces. She had 30 winners and 38 unforced errors, while Giorgi had a whopping 47 unforced errors against 18 winners.

Gauff had six aces while knocking off Ruse. She had 19 winners and 25 unforced errors, while Ruse had 16 winners and 33 unforced errors.

Gauff’s match ended shortly after Keys finished off her win.

“It’s not going to be an easy match,” Gauff said of facing Keys. “She’s a big hitter. I’m going to be ready for some fastballs.”

Fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia cruised to a 7-5, 6-2 win over American Elizabeth Mandlik. Mandlik is the daughter of 1985 U.S. Open champion Hana Mandlikova.

Jabeur will next face 31st-seeded Shelby Rogers, who beat Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova 7-5, 6-1.

Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, seeded 18th, was a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska, while 28th-seeded Ekaternia Alexandrova of Russia outlasted Peyton Stearns of the United States 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

–Field Level Media