The first three matches on Saturday at the US Open produced three shock results. In the first match on Louis Armstrong Stadium, 21st seed Simona Halep (Player Profile)continued on her winning ways when she absolutely walloped 14th seed Maria Kirilenko (Player Profile) 6-1 6-0 in just 51 minutes. Both players – who had never met before – have had a great 2013 season and have risen up the rankings, but it was Halep who showed why she is now in the top 20 (at number 19). Only Serena Williams has won more matches this season than Halep. Kirilenko managed to win just one game in the first set when Halep went on a 17 point winning streak. The Roumanian was even more devastating in the second set to win it to love and make it to the 4th round of a slam for the first time.
7th seeded Petra Kvitova (Player Profile) was clearly not well when she faced off against the 81st ranked and 9th ranked American wild card, Alison Riske (Player Profile) on Court 17. Playing mainly on the ITF circuit, the 23 year old American has virtually nothing to her name – except a few ITF titles. Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, is well known for her one dimensional power game which, if working is unbeatable but, if not on song, can be a disaster. These players met last week when Kvitova won in three tough sets in the second round at the New Haven tournament. With Kvitova firing blanks in the first set, Riske took it 6-3. Kvitova’s problems increased in the second set, as Riske raced to a 5-0 lead before Kvitova called for the doctor and trainer. After taking some medication she returned to the court, only to let the American close out the set to love.
Former top 10 player Flavia Pennetta (Player Profile), now ranked at 83 following some time off the tour with a wrist injury, took on 27th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova (Player Profile) on Court 11. Pennetta defeated a wild card in the first round, losing only two games; and then whitewashed her compatriot, 4th seed Sara Errani, 6-3 6-1 in the second round. Kuznetsova is also on a comeback following a knee injury. She won her first round match in straights, then dug herself out of a hole to win in three sets in the second round. These players went toe to toe until 5-5 in the first set when the Italian broke and then held to take the set 7-5. In the second set Kuznetsova’s game completely disintegrated and Penetta took full advantage, serving well and using a variety of shots to take the set to love.