August 31, 2014
Another day, another major shock in the women’s singles at Flushing Meadows. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was defeated 4-6, 4-6 by a qualifier called Aleksandra Krunic.
The upset has caused all kinds of accommodation problems for the unlikely winner, who initially hadn’t reserved a room beyond Wednesday, let alone for the second week. The 21-year-old Serb could scarcely believe her achievement and lay on her back, her face covering her hands, clearly in a state of shock and probably wondering where she would stay for the rest of the weekend.
She left an apartment in Queens during the week, anticipating an early exit. Then she handed back the keys to a hotel room in Manhattan on Saturday, for the same pessimistic, yet understandably practical reason. The win over Kvitova was beyond the wildest dreams of a young woman ranked 145th in the world and therefore the biggest outsider left in the tournament.
‘I’m trying to believe it,’ Krunic explained, ‘but then, like, OK, when I believe it, I’m afraid that I’m going to have so many emotions. So I’m trying to keep it all together.’
Poor Petra failed to keep it all together, crushed by the sheer weight of expectation. Kvitova appeared to have overcome her problems in dealing with stardom when she won Wimbledon a few short weeks ago. Yet here she is again, talking about the pressure of success. ‘This year, for example, all the Grand Slams have big upsets,’ she argued. ‘Everybody really can beat everyone from the top, so it’s really difficult to stay on the top. It’s a lot of pressure out there.’
The fact that she made 34 unforced errors told how Kvitova struggled with starting as such a heavy favourite in the match.
Defending US Open champion Serena Williams didn’t seem to mind that label. She cruised into the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Varvara Lepchenko.
Men’s favourite Novak Djokovic continued his impressive form with a straight sets win over Sam Querrey, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2., it was certainly a happy day for Serbia.
Meanwhile Andy Murray beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 and faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the Frenchman beat Pablo Carreno 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Murray will be worried that he was broken twice in the third set. And that serve will have to improve considerably if he is to reverse his recent defeat to Tsonga in Toronto.
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