New York: Novak Djokovic made the last 32 of a major for the 33rd successive time without hitting a ball at the US Open Wednesday as Caroline Wozniacki stopped the rot eating away at her career.
Former number one Wozniacki, the US Open runner-up in 2009 and 2014 but who has slipped to 74 in the world after a season decimated by a right ankle injury, defeated 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-4.
The 26-year-old Dane recovered from 0-4 down in the first set to record a seventh win in eight meetings and third in New York over the ninth-seeded Russian.
“I stopped looking at the world rankings when I dropped out of the top 10,” said Wozniacki who next plays Romania’s Monica Niculescu.
Djokovic was handed a walkover when Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic withdrew from their second round encounter suffering an inflammation of the left forearm.
Vesely’s misfortune was a welcome boost for world number one Djokovic who had required treatment on his upper right arm in his laboured first round win over Jerzy Janowicz on Monday.
Left-hander Vesely had defeated the Serb at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
Djokovic will face 34-year-old Russian Mikhail Youzhny, twice a semi-finalist, on Friday for a place in the last 16.
“I’m very, very disappointed right now,” said 23-year-old Vesely.
“I was looking forward to playing Novak, I would have nothing to lose.”
Fifth seed and Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada was knocked out of the US Open on Wednesday by American qualifier Ryan Harrison.
The 120th-ranked Harrison won 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 and goes on to face Marcos Baghdatis for a place in the last 16.
“It was extremely physical out there but I was playing on adrenaline,” said 24-year-old Harrison who was as high as 43 in the world in 2012.
“This is a big win for me. I have been playing well all summer.”
Raonic, considered as a potential title dangerman in New York, hit 18 aces and 69 winners but committed 62 unforced errors.
Harrison has now reached the third round of a Slam for the first time after recording just a second win over a top 10 opponent in 27 meetings.
Britain’s Johanna Konta, the 13th seed, collapsed on court with heat sickness before completing a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win over Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.
“I feel like my body is in shock,” Konta told medics as she sat shaking on the baseline of Court 13 just after going down set point in the second set.
After a medical timeout, the Briton dropped the set before heading off on a lengthy toilet break which did little to help her opponent’s composure.
“What was frustrating for me was the toilet break because I think the match was stopped for just too long,” said world number 71 Pironkova.
“It was an unfortunate time as I had my momentum going.”
Angelique Kerber, the second seeded Australian Open champion, made the last 32 by seeing off 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).
But the German did it the hard way, squandering a 4-1 second set lead and having to save two set points in the tiebreaker.
Kerber faces either Shelby Rogers or CiCi Bellis, both of the United States, for a place in the last 16.
Seventh seeded Italian Roberta Vinci, defeated by compatriot Flavia Pennetta in last year’s final, eased past Christina McHale of the United States 6-1, 6-3.
The 33-year-old, playing at Flushing Meadows for the 14th time, goes on to face Germany’s Carina Witthoeft.
Nadal eyes last 32
Slovak 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova overcame a left-thigh injury to see off Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina 6-7, 6-2, 6-2, winning 17 of the last 18 points.
Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, the 14th seeded Czech who recorded her best performance in New York 12 months ago when she made the last-eight, beat Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
Kvitova was in her trademark all-or-nothing mood, mixing up 31 winners with 30 unforced errors against her 26-year-old opponent.
Kvitova now plays Ukrainian 22nd seed Elina Svitolina who put out Lauren Davis of the United States 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson saw off Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-4.
Anderson reached the quarter-finals last year, beating 2012 champion Andy Murray on the way, but has been plagued by knee, shoulder and ankle injuries in 2016 which forced him to skip eight events.
Britain’s Kyle Edmund backed up his first round win over world number 15 Richard Gasquet with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 victory over US wildcard Ernesto Escobedo on the back of 53 winners.
John Inser of the United States fired 38 aces to beat Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (10/12), 6-3 and next faces Edmund.
Later Wednesday, Spanish fourth seed Rafael Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion, takes a 7-1 career record over Italy’s Andreas Seppi into their night time clash.
Reigning Roland Garros champion and third seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain tackles Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.