9/1/2016 1:47:56 AM

US Open: Muguruza, Raonic crash

US Open: Muguruza, Raonic crash

NEW YORK: French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic were knocked out of the US Open on Wednesday as Novak Djokovic was handed a free pass into the last 32.

Third seeded Spaniard Muguruza, who has struggled in the aftermath of her Roland Garros breakthrough in June, slumped to a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, the world number 48.

A horribly out of sorts Muguruza rallied from 1-5 down in the second set, saving three match points, but Sevastova, who quit the sport in 2013 to study leisure management, held her nerve for the victory.

Having not won a match at the US Open in five years before this week, 26-year-old Sevastova now goes on to face Kateryna Bondarenko, a 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 winner over China’s Zheng Saisai.

“This is why I came back to the sport for the big stages like this and night sessions at the Slams. But I was shaking a little at the end,” she said.

Meanwhile, 120th-ranked Ryan Harrison of the United States stunned fifth seeded Raonic 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 in another second round upset.

“It was extremely physical out there. I was playing on adrenaline,” said 24-year-old qualifier Harrison who was as high as 43 in the world in 2012.

He goes on to face experienced Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis for a place in the last 16.

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. It was a result of over-exuberance,” 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.

World number one 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.

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 17-year-old CiCi Bellis of the United States, for a place in the last 16.

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 Isner 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.

Croatian seventh seed Marin Cilic, the 2014 champion, made the last 32 by seeing off Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.

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