Top seed Pliskova ousted
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.