Thursday, 17 October, 2019

US Open: Angelique Kerber knocked out by 29th seed Dominika Cibulkova

Madison Keys Madison Keys was a French Open semi-finalist and an Australian Open quarter-finalist this year
Shannon Reynolds | 04 September, 2018, 08:42

Kerber, who won Wimbledon in July, was the latest favorite to be knocked out of the women's singles at Flushing Meadows after top seed Simona Halep and second seed Caroline Wozniacki. Last year's victor Sloane Stephens and six-time US Open victor Serena Williams are now considered the top favorites to win the grand slam.

She has been resurgent under Wim Fissette, capped by her brilliant victory over Serena Williams at Wimbledon, and had reached at least the quarter-finals at all of the slams, but here she found Dominika Cibulkova a step too far, the Slovakian winning 3-6 6-3 6-3. I felt like when I had a chance to go for it, I just made mistakes because I was rushing. Also, I was not able actually to play my best tennis in the important moments. "I think that was the difference in the match today".

Another high-ranked departure was French sixth seed Caroline Garcia, conqueror of Britain's Johanna Konta in round one, who lost 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to Carla Suarez-Navarro. I am just happy to be in the next round.

Next up for Keys, who was routed by Sloane Stephens in last year's final, is the victor of the evening clash between five-times Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and Spanish 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro.

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Kerber broke three times in the first set but Cibulkova repeated the feat in the second to take it to a decider.

Elsewhere, Dutch 13th seed Kiki Bertens was knocked out by Czech Marketa Vondrousova 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-6 (7-1).

With the U.S. Open's heat advisory put back into effect, the pair traded punishing groundstrokes under the blazing sun and it was Cibulkova who was often pinned well behind the baseline and at the mercy of her opponent. Keber's defeat means the NY grand slam will go into its second week without a German player in the women's draw.

Cibulkova, who had previously had two three-set matches this tournament, has struggled at times this year, and has not really been near her best since her stellar 2016 season. However, she saw two match points come and go as Larsson upped her game to embark on an inspired comeback effort.

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