Maria Sharapova crashed out of the US Open Sunday while 17-year-old Belinda Bencic became the youngest women’s quarter-finalist since 1997 giving Switzerland a double boost after Roger Federer had moved into the last-16.
Sharapova’s defeat at the hands of fellow former world number one Caroline Wozniacki meant that only three of the top 10 seeds in the women’s draw were left standing after Bencic had taken care of ninth-ranked Jelena Jankovic.
On a day of shocks at the US Open, China’s Peng Shuai reached her first singles quarter-final at a major by beating experienced Czech Lucie Safarova while, in the men’s draw, fourth-seed David Ferrer was defeated by Gilles Simon of France.
Even the great Federer, a five-time champion, had an early struggle, dropping the first set in his third round tie against Spain’s Marcel Granollers before booking his fourth round spot.
Sharapova, looking to add this year’s US Open title to her French Open win in June, was undone by 43 unforced errors and eight double faults as 10th seed Wozniacki won 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
She will next face 13th-seeded Italian Sara Errani who ended the magical run of 32-year-old Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 2-6, 6-0.
“It means so much to me,” said 2009 runner-up Wozniacki, who reached the semi-finals in 2010 and 2011 but hadn’t been past the third round at Flushing Meadows the last two years.
“It’s been a bit up and down for me this season. To win today against a champion like Maria is an unbelievable feeling.”
Sharapova, the 2006 champion, admitted she had been outplayed.
“I thought she played really well. She made me hit a lot of balls. That’s always been her strength. But she did extremely well today. She’s a great retriever, especially in these types of conditions. I just felt like I maybe went for a little too much,” said the Russian.
Bencic, 17 and ranked 58th, dismissed former world number one Jelena Jankovic 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 to become the youngest US Open quarter-finalist since Martina Hingis won the title in 1997 at the age of 16.
Hingis, whose mother Melanie Molitor is one of Bencic’s coaches, was courtside for the match, lending a little moral support to her young compatriot, who won the 2013 junior title at Wimbledon and Roland Garros but hadn’t made it past the third round in three major main draw appearances this year.
“I just tried to play the match point like it was a normal point, but I was so tight,” the beaming youngster said.
Bencic will now face China’s Peng who clinched a 6-3, 6-4 win over 14th-seeded Safarova with a ninth ace on match point having already defeated fourth-seeded Pole, Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.