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Saturday, August 30, 2014
Eugenie Bouchard into fourth round

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard pulled out a suddenly tight match Saturday night, edging 30th-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 to reach the US Open's fourth round for the first time.

The seventh-seeded Bouchard was the only woman to make it to at least the semifinals at each of the year's first three Grand Slam tournaments.

At Wimbledon, she became the first Canadian to appear in a major singles final.

To get to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows, Bouchard will need to beat No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova.

Zahlavova Strycova fell to 1-28 in matches against opponents ranked in the top 10.

After breaking to get to 4-all in Saturday's third set, Zahlavova Strycova double-faulted to fall behind 5-4. Bouchard then served out the victory.

Meanwhile, the woman who defeated Bouchard in the Wimbledon final, Petra Kvitova, was stunned in the third round of the US Open by a scrambling, moon-balling qualifier ranked No. 145.

Aleksandra Krunic, a 21-year-old Serb who until this week had not taken even a set from a player in the top 30, crumpled to the court in celebration and shock Saturday when she pulled off the 6-4, 6-4 upset of the third-seeded Czech.

"Of course, I didn't expect to win," said Krunic, the second qualifier to pull off such a shocker after 121st-ranked Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat No. 2-seeded Simona Halep on Friday.

Even when Krunic took the lead in the second set and the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd was cheering her on, "I just told to myself, 'It's still on her, you still have nothing to lose.' "

"I really focused my 100 percent not to think about anything that is happening -- about the court, about so many people, about Petra," she said.

After a week of upsets on the women's side, only three of the top eight seeds remain, No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 5 Maria Sharapova and No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard.

Bidding for a third consecutive US Open title, Williams moved into the fourth round by beating 52nd-ranked Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-3. She meets 50th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who knocked out No. 15 Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 6-0.

Williams has faced American opponents in all three of her matches this week while extending her overall winning streak at Flushing Meadows to 17. 

Williams had some trouble dealing with the whipping wind in Arthur Ashe Stadium but eventually took control against Lepchenko, a 2012 Olympic teammate and occasional practice partner. 

Williams, a 17-time Grand Slam singles champion, is hoping to avoid her first season since 2006 without reaching at least one major final. She lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, second round at the French Open, and third round at Wimbledon.

When a reporter asked whether it was important to get to the second week at the US Open, Williams replied: "I mean, I can't believe I'm in the second week. It's like a dream come true for me at this point."

And to a follow-up question about why Williams couldn't believe it, she replied: "I'm being sarcastic."

Kvitova, who would have ascended to the No. 1 ranking if she won the US Open and Williams had lost before the quarterfinal, committed 34 unforced errors against the fast-moving Krunic, who slid and sometimes went into a split to chase down every ball and make her opponent hit one more shot.

Kvitova too often failed to do so, including what should have been an easy putaway of a drop shot that put Krunic a point away from winning the first set. Kvitova sprayed a backhand long on the next point to lose it.

Those problems continued in the second set, and in an epic 27-stroke rally on match point, Krunic looped several towering shots before Kvitova sailed yet another forehand out to end it.

"She played really unbelievable tennis and she put a lot of balls back ... almost all of them," said Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion who has never advanced past the fourth round at the US Open. "I was trying to fight and fighting every point, but it was so difficult. It wasn't really my day."

Krunic next faces 16th-seeded Victoria Azarenka, a straight sets winner over Elena Vesnina. Azarenka, who has lost to Williams in the US Open final the past two years, says she had never seen Krunic play before.

There was no upset for 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta, who downed American wild-card Nicole Gibbs 6-4, 6-0. She will face No. 29 Casey Dellacqua in the round of 16.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.