NEW YORK -- It was an eventful day at Flushing Meadows on Friday, with more retirements, a women's tournament veteran losing in three sets and a No. 2 falling in the third round.
Here's what happened:
Venus Williams loses another tough three-setter at a major: The scoreline may seem odd, but the third set was some of the best women's tennis we've seen all week in New York, as 13th-seed Sara Errani edged Venus 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5) in the third round. Williams served for the match at 5-3 only to be broken and Errani gamely held her serve twice to force the final set tiebreak. Williams had clawed her way back into the match based on her hyper-aggressive hitting, but those groundstrokes failed her in the tiebreaker. Errani's steadier play and steady work at the net won the day. It's another Slam setback for Williams, who has come out on the losing side of some tight three setters over the last six Slams:
2014 U.S. Open: 7-6 in third
2014 Wimbledon: 7-5 in third
2014 French Open: 6-4 in third
2014 Australian Open: 6-4 in third
2013 U.S. Open: 7-6 in third
2013 French Open: 6-4 in third
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni stuns No. 2 Simona Halep: The last time 32-year-old Lucic-Baroni made the fourth round of a Slam was 1999, when she made her career-best run to the semifinals of Wimbledon. Now a qualifier ranked No. 121, she followed up her first round upset of 25th seed Garbine Muguruza with some of the best tennis of her career, beating Halep 7-6 (6), 6-2. Halep still looked shell-shocked after the match. She had a 5-2 lead with set points in the first set before Lucic-Baroni started nailing the corners and getting Halep on the run.
Seventeen-year-old Belinda Bencic ousts sixth seed Angelique Kerber: We've been waiting for the Swiss teen to do something special at the Slams and the wait might finally be over. Bencic had no problem dispatching of 2011 semifinalist Kerber, winning 6-1, 7-5. She'll play ninth seed Jelena Jankovic next. The Serb had a drama-free day (shocker!), beating Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-0.
Bernard Tomic withdrew: Fourth seed David Ferrer got a walkover into the third round when Tomic withdrew from the tournament with a hip injury. Tomic said he started feeling the hip in his first round match and after double-hip surgery earlier this year he couldn't afford to do anything to make it worse.
Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova win in straight sets: One scoreline looks tighter than the other but Federer was in full control of his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Ivan Drago look-alike Sam Groth. Sharapova had to battle through to a 6-2, 6-4 win over Sabine Lisicki. It was a poor quality match up until the end. Sharapova rallied from a break down in the second and the two play a final game to remember, throwing baseline haymakers until it was the German who missed. Sharapova will have to raise her level significantly on Sunday when she plays Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane has looked sharp through three rounds.
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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who is into the fourth round of a Slam for the first time in 15 years after beating Halep:
"I feel goofy right now. I feel like I'm 15 now. I feel so excited. It's crazy. I'm 32, but I don't feel like that. My body is really great. That's really important. I feel fit. I feel strong in my mind. I feel very excited, even after so many years on tour. That's what I find really -- exciting is not the word. Kind of surprising a little bit. I still have so much desire, so much to play. I have such an amazing husband and such a happy life at home that I don't need to do this. I would be perfectly fine having a family. But people don't realize how much I want this and how hard I worked for this. Yeah, it's these moments in these last two weeks that are just -- I mean, it's what I work for. It's just so fulfilling, so amazing."
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