New York: French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic crashed out of the US Open Wednesday as the $150 million roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium rolled smoothly into action for the first time.
Third seeded Spaniard Muguruza, who has struggled in the aftermath of her Roland Garros breakthrough in June, slumped to a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, the world number 48.
A horribly out of sorts Muguruza rallied from 1-5 down in the second set, saving three match points, but Sevastova, who briefly quit the sport in 2013, held her nerve for the victory.
Having not won a match at the US Open in five years before this week, 26-year-old Sevastova now goes on to face Kateryna Bondarenko, a 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 winner in three hours over China’s Zheng Saisai.
“This is why I came back to the sport for the big stages like this and night sessions at the Slams. But I was shaking a little at the end,” she said.
Muguruza admitted she had been outplayed.
“It was a very tough match. I think I didn’t play well. Everything she was doing was working,” said the 22-year-old who has never made the third round in New York.
Meanwhile, 120th-ranked Ryan Harrison of the United States stunned fifth seeded Raonic 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 in another second round upset.
“It was extremely physical out there. I was playing on adrenaline,” said 24-year-old qualifier Harrison who was as high as 43 in the world in 2012.
He goes on to face experienced Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis for a place in the last 16.
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.
Raonic, considered as a potential title dangerman in New York, hit 69 winners but committed 62 unforced errors.
“I started cramping midway through the second set. There was a lot of nerves and stress. It was a result of over-exuberance,” said 25-year-old Raonic.
Rafael Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion, eased past Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 in a match which became the first to be completed under the new retractable roof on Ashe.
Light rain caused the structure to be closed at 3-3 in the second set with play only held up for around seven minutes.
“It’s part of history and I am very happy to be the first to play under the roof,” said Nadal, who was also the first to practice beneath the roof on the cavernous 22,000-capacity arena.
Nadal beat Seppi for the eighth time in nine matches and next faces Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.