New York chaos gets best of Kvitova
NEW YORK -- Petra Kvitova, an exceedingly private person in a very public business, does not love New York.
At Wimbledon, she can move freely about the Village, and the results there reflect her peace of mind. Kvitova has won two of the past four titles at the All England Club, but when she comes to the US Open, something goes terribly wrong.
Three years ago, she followed up a championship at the All England Club with a first-round loss. Saturday, with an outside chance to become the No. 1 player in the world, the No. 3-seeded Kvitova lost her third-round match to a 21-year-old qualifier ranked No. 145 in the world.
Yes, Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia dropped a stunning defeat on Kvitova 6-4, 6-4 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I am not able to talk too much," Krunic said, then rambled on excitedly for several minutes in her on-court interview. "Of course, I didn't expect to win. I was hoping to win at least a set, but I managed to win the match.
"I don't know how."
By crafting a diverse game of moonballs, drop shots and the occasional flat forehand to keep Kvitova off balance. Thirty-four unforced errors, as much as Krunic herself, are what sent Kvitova home. That, and five breaks of her usually formidable serve; she was only broken once in her first two matches.
"I think she played really unbelievable tennis and she put a lot of balls back -- almost all of them," Kvitova said. "For me it was very difficult just to play only on the winners. I did mistakes and I was really trying everything what I could in that moment. I was trying to fight and fighting every point, but it was so difficult."
And so, the hits keep coming to the women's draw: The Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 seeds failed to reach the second week. That creates some breathing room for the remaining favorites: Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard.
Meanwhile, at the conclusion of the match, the top-10 men's seeds were all still alive.
"That's the men," Kvitova said. "I think the men are having pressure, of course. They are just handle it better probably. I don't know."
Her idol growing up was Kim Clijsters, and on several occasions, Krunic executed Clijsters' trademark split. When she beat No. 27-ranked Madison Keys in the first round, it was Krunic's first win over a top-30 player. Now, in the match of her life, she's beaten a two-time Grand Slam champion ranked No. 4 in the world.
She's mentally agile, too. Krunic attends Singidunum University in Serbia and hopes to graduate with a degree in economics at the end of the year. That should give her the tools to invest the $187,000 she will collect for reaching the fourth round.
Krunic said she was honored to be on the court with Kvitova and that she watched both of her Wimbledon finals. She shared her thoughts on match point.
"You think in the back of your mind, `Don't miss a serve, don't make a double,'" she said. "I tried to keep these thoughts somewhere far away. You don't know what to do on the match point. I was just putting in the ball -- and she missed."
And another blast of anarchy visited this already unpredictable women's tournament