|Peng Shuai after her win over Agnieszka Radwanska, on Wednesday
New York: Peng Shuai of China upset fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-3, 6-4 in a shocking start to the women’s second round of the US Open, here, on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Peng, the doubles world No. 2, used her piercing, two-fisted groundstrokes to put Radwanska on the defensive and claimed the biggest scalp of the championship on her third match point with a backhand crosscourt winner. Peng, the French Open doubles champion who is looking for her first career WTA Tour title, registered 28 winners in the 96-minute match.
Despite boasting 34 Grand Slam singles titles between them, Serena Williams and Roger Federer were forced to share the spotlight with a 15-year-old at the US Open on Tuesday as all three advanced to the second round.
American wild card Catherine Bellis, the youngest player in the draw, took her place alongside the five-time US champions by stunning 12th seeded Australian Open finalist Dominica Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Second-seeded Federer, looking to extend his record men’s haul of slam titles to 18, posted a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) demolition of Australian Marinko Matosevic as the 33-year-old’s boyhood idol Michael Jordan of basketball fame looked on.
Second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania beat the heat by hurrying past Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-2 6-1 to reach the third round. Halep wasted little time as temperatures soared on a hazy Wednesday in Flushing Meadows.
Serena advanced 6-3, 6-1 over unseeded fellow American Taylor Townsend as she followed Federer onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium court to cap the second day of the championships.
Should she go on to win the tournament, the two-time defending champion would join Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in fourth place on the all-time list of women’s Grand Slam singles champions with 18 titles apiece.
“Hopefully, I can just build on this,” said Serena, who has had a disappointing slam season with her best result a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open back in January. Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19) are the only three women to have won more Grand Slam titles.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and runner-up Eugenie Bouchard launched their Open campaigns with a bang, blasting by their respective first-round opponents with a minimum of fuss.
They were joined in the second round by eighth-seeded former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, 11th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta, 16th seed Victoria Azarenka and 2011 champion Sam Stosur, but the biggest jolt of energy was supplied by Bellis.
Third-seeded Kvitova of the Czech Republic crushed Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-1, 6-0, while Bouchard was nearly as efficient in dismissing Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-2, 6-1.
Another seeded woman shown the exit was former French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova (20th) of Russia, who lost to 82nd-ranked Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
On the men’s side, 10th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, 13th-seeded American John Isner and 25th seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia were among first-round winners.
Nishikori shrugged off a recent toe injury to dismiss American wild card Wayne Odesnik, while Isner ousted compatriot Marcos Giron and Karlovic eliminated Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
Although five of eight US men in action were eliminated, Sam Querrey gave local fans something to celebrate with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina.
Meanwhile, India’s Rohan Bopanna and Pakistani partner Aisam Qureshi crashed out after going down fighting in the men’s doubles first round contest.
The 13th seeded pair, lost 6-7 (10-12), 6-4, 6-7 (5-7) to the unseeded Italian pair of Daniele Bracciali and Andreas Seppi in a contest that lasted for more than two and half hours.