Reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber will not be adding to her Grand Slam tally in New York this year after going down in three sets to Dominika Cibulkova.
Kerber looked in good shape after taking the first set but found herself outplayed by No 35 seed Cibulkova in the second and third, ultimately going down 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 1, 2018
The early signs had looked much better for Kerber. She broke Cibulkova’s serve in the very first game of the match, and though the Slovakian managed to get back on level terms a few games later, Kerber appeared to take control of the contest when successive breaks in the seventh and ninth games handed her the first set.
But Cibulkova started like a house on fire in the second set and turned the match around completely.
Two early breaks saw her race to a 3-0 lead, and though Kerber would get one of those lost breaks early on, she was powerless to prevent Cibulkova from breaking for a third time to level the scores at a set apiece.
It needed a strong response from Kerber in the third, but the World No 4 wasn’t able to convert two break point chances in the first game in order to seize the initiative.
Instead, it was Cibulkova who broke first for a 3-1 lead, and even though Kerber was able to break back after a marathon fifth game that finally saw her succeed with her fifth break point opportunity, Cibulkova effectively ended the German’s challenge when she broke straight back with ease in the very next game, undoing all of Kerber’s hard work from the game before.
From there, Cibulkova coasted to match point and a place in the US Open fourth round.
— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) September 1, 2018
Other early third-round winners on Saturday included American Madison Keys, Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine and Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
Fourteenth seed Keys defeated Aleksandra Krunic 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, while Suarez Navarro was a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) winner over Caroline Garcia.