Fifth seed and Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic was knocked out of the US Open on Wednesday by American qualifier Ryan Harrison as Novak Djokovic was handed a free pass into the last 32.
The 120th-ranked Harrison won 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 and goes on to face Marcos Baghdatis for a place in the last 16 after pulling off the biggest upset of the tornament so far.
“It was extremely physical out there. I was playing on adrenaline,” said 24-year-old Harrison who was as high as 43 in the world in 2012. “This is a big win for me.”
Raonic, considered as a potential title dangerman in New York, hit 18 aces and 69 winners but committed 62 unforced errors.
Harrison has now reached the third round of a Slam for the first time after recording just a second win over a top 10 opponent in 27 meetings.
“I started cramping midway through the second set. There was a lot of nerves and stress,” said 25-year-old Raonic who claimed that the pain eventually spread to his back and arms and that, as a result, he was unable to carry his bags.
Djokovic made the last 32 of a major for the 33rd successive time without hitting a ball when Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic withdrew from their second round encounter suffering an inflammation of the left forearm.
Vesely’s misfortune was a welcome boost for world number one Djokovic, who had required treatment on his upper right arm in his laboured first round win over Jerzy Janowicz on Monday.
Left-hander Vesely had defeated the Serb at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
Djokovic will face 34-year-old Russian Mikhail Youzhny, twice a semi-finalist, on Friday for a place in the last 16.
Former number one Caroline Wozniacki, the US Open runner-up in 2009 and 2014 but who has slipped to 74 in the world after a season decimated by a right ankle injury, defeated 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-4.
The 26-year-old Dane recovered from 0-4 down in the first set to record a seventh win in eight meetings and third in New York over the ninth-seeded Russian.
Britain’s Johanna Konta, the 13th seed, collapsed on court with heat sickness before completing a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win over Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.
After a medical timeout, the Briton dropped the set before heading off on a lengthy toilet break which did little to help her opponent’s composure.
“I’m a little embarrassed. I’m not a fan of drama. I did the best that I could with the cards that I had,” said Konta.
Angelique Kerber, the second seeded Australian Open champion, made the last 32 by seeing off 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).
Kerber faces either Shelby Rogers or CiCi Bellis, both of the United States, for a place in the last 16.
Nadal eyes last 32
Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, the 14th seeded Czech who recorded her best performance in New York 12 months ago when she made the last eight, beat Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
Kvitova was in her trademark all-or-nothing mood, mixing up 31 winners with 30 unforced errors against her 26-year-old opponent.
Kvitova now plays Ukrainian 22nd seed Elina Svitolina who put out Lauren Davis of the United States 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
Britain’s Kyle Edmund backed up his first round win over world number 15 Richard Gasquet with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 victory over US wildcard Ernesto Escobedo on the back of 53 winners.
John Inser of the United States fired 38 aces to beat Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (10/12), 6-3 and next faces Edmund.
Later on Wednesday, Spanish fourth seed Rafael Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion, takes a 7-1 career record over Italy’s Andreas Seppi into their night time clash. © AFP, 2016