Top seed Pliskova ousted

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK — Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, Karolina Pliskova would not have been the top-seeded woman at the U.S. Open. So while a sec­ond-round loss cer­tainly would have been dis­ap­point­ing to her — and no­ticed by oth­ers — it wouldn’t have been as news­wor­thy.

But what’s nor­mal in 2020? With the women who are first and sec­ond in the rankings — Ash Barty and Si­mona Halep — choos­ing to skip the tour­na­ment be­cause of the coro­n­avirus, Pliskova as­cended to the top spot in the draw. By Wed­nes­day, she was gone.

Pliskova, who was the run­ner-up in the tour­na­ment in 2016, made her mood clear dur­ing a 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) loss to Caro­line Gar­cia by break­ing a racket, then again with a se­ries of clipped re­sponses at her news con­fer­ence af­ter­ward.

Pliskova fid­geted with the mi­cro­phone, sighed and rolled her eyes.

When a re­porter of­fered pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tions for the de­feat — a faster sur­face on the courts, a lack of at­mos­phere be­cause there are no spec­ta­tors present, the pres­sure of her high seed­ing — Pliskova replied: ‘‘Noth­ing from what you said.’’

Her rea­son for the re­sult?

‘‘I didn’t play good, so that’s it,’’ she said. When an­other mem­ber of the me­dia said the back-and-forth must be bor­ing to Pliskova, she said: ‘‘Yeah, a lit­tle bit. Did you see the match or no?’’

Soon af­ter that, she re­marked: ‘‘I don’t know if you un­der­stand ten­nis well enough.’’

The same fate didn’t be­fall No. 1 men’s seed No­vak Djokovic, who over­came a slow start to de­feat Kyle Ed­mund 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to re­main un­beaten in 25 matches in 2020.

‘‘I’m re­ally glad hav­ing an early kind of tough match in the tour­na­ment be­cause it kind of serves me bet­ter, I think, for the rest of the tour­na­ment,’’ Djokovic said.

Other sec­ond-round win­ners in­cluded fourth-seeded Naomi Osaka, sixth-seeded Pe­tra Kvi­tova and eighth-seeded Pe­tra Mar­tic on the women’s side and fourth-seeded Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas, fifth-seeded Alexan­der Zverev and sev­enth-seeded David Gof­fin on the men’s.

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