Laura Robson of Great Britain played spoiler Wednesday evening, winning in two competitive sets over three-time U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters.
The 18-year-old Robson won by scores of 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5).
Clijsters, 29, had said this would be her last Grand Slam tournament in the singles draw. She is still entered in the women's doubles and mixed doubles draw.
The Belgian had won the championship the last three times she played the U.S. Open (2005, 2009, 2010). She missed the other years due to her first retirement, and last year due to injury.
"This completely feels like the perfect place to retire, I just wish it wasn't today," Clijsters said in the courtside interview at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which was interrupted by a prolonged ovation from the court.
The popular Clijsters also won the 2011 Australian Open among her eight appearances in Grand Slam finals.
Her previous defeat at Flushing Meadows came against Belgian rival Justine Henin on Sept. 6, 2003, in the tournament final. Robson was 9 at the time.
In August 2009, Clijsters was back on tour; unseeded and unranked, because she only played in two previous tournaments during her comeback, she won that year's U.S. Open.
"It's the place that has inspired me so much to do well and to do great things. It's hard to explain sometimes why," Clijsters said.
When the contest ended on Wednesday with Clijsters sailing a backhand return long, allowing Robson to convert her third match point, they met at the net. Clijsters began to extend her arm for the customary handshake, and Robson pulled her in for a hug.
"I want to thank Kim," Robson told the crowd moments later, "for being such a great role model to me for so many years."
Against Robson she fought off two match points at 5-6 in the second set and was briefly ahead in the tiebreaker, but the teen hit an unbelievable forehand down the line on the penultimate point of the match to help seal the result.
Wozniak won't advance
Robson advances to face 2011 French Open winner Li Na of China, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Casey Dellacqua of Australia.
Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak is also out of the U.S. Open.
The Blainville, Que., native lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to No. 15 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in the second round.
The 48th-ranked Wozniak had three aces and broke on four of eight chances, but she lost serve seven times.
Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., is the lone Canadian remaining in either singles draw.
Wozniak got off to a rough start as she lost serve in the opening game against Safarova. She went down 4-1, but got a break back for 3-5 before losing serve again to end the set in 45 minutes.
Wozniak fought back in the second to tie the match but Safarova regained control in the third.
"The second set was more steady for me, I was focusing on serve so much, I knew that was the key," said Wozniak. "But my serve didn't go that smooth at all."
Wozniak said the weather was a challenge.
"The third set was disappointing, especially with three double faults which let her get to 4-2," she said. "The sun was high, there was the wind as well — all the elements, not to mention the humidity.
"For sure it was tough to lose this three-set battle."
The defeat ends a Grand Slam season that saw Wozniak lose in the second round at every major except the French Open, where she reached the third round.
"I really wanted to beat that French record. I wish I could have done better here," she said. "But my Paris record still stands."
The world's top-ranked player and Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka beat qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2 in 65 minutes in the second round Wednesday, and has lost just five games through her first two matches.
"I don't feel like I have to prove something," Azarenka said.
She hasn't made it beyond the third round as a top-10 seed in each of the last three years. In 2010, she collapsed on court after hitting her head before her second-round match. Last year, seeded fourth, she had the bad luck of drawing 28th-seeded Serena Williams in the third.
"The next match is going to be the usual match for me. I don't have anything that, you know, it's the third round or I have to win that I didn't the last two years," Azarenka said.
Next up is 28th-seeded Zheng Jie of China, who beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-1.
Third-seeded Maria Sharapova needed just 54 minutes to advance to the third round of the U.S. Open.
The four-time Grand Slam champion beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0, 6-1. Sharapova had 30 winners; the 78th-ranked Spaniard had zero.
Sharapova has lost five games through two matches. She next faces American wild-card Mallory Burdette, a 21-year-old Stanford All-American making her Grand Slam debut.
Defending champion Samantha Stosur moved to the third round with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania.
The seventh-seeded Stosur has lost a total of five games over her first two matches. Her latest win took exactly an hour and she has spent a total of 1 hour, 51 minutes on the court so far this week.
Stosur, eliminated in the first round at the Australian Open and second round at Wimbledon earlier this year, plays 31st-seeded Varvara Lepchenko in the third round.
Ferrer flies through
It was another quick, predictable result in a tournament with few upsets or even nail-biters yet.
David Ferrer opened his tournament with a result befitting a top-four seed. Ranked fifth, Ferrer moved up a spot because fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal is out with knee problems. Ferrer beat 34th-ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
It was potentially a tough first-round matchup for Ferrer: Anderson made the third round at Flushing Meadows each of the last two years. But Ferrer was in control throughout, facing just three break points — all in the third set — and saving all of them.
"It was not easy match, no, with Anderson," Ferrer said. "He's a really good player. He's very strong first and second serve. I'm happy."
Highest-ranked American male John Isner let out a big exhale of relief while waving to the crowd after getting past an argumentative Xavier Malisse 6-3, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (9) Wednesday in a suddenly tight first-round match at the U.S. Open.
The 6-foot-9 Isner hit 20 aces and ended the match with a service winner on his third match point. He was given that last match point when Malisse pushed an easy backhand volley into the net. Malisse grabbed the ball and shoved it in his mouth and chomped on it as though it were an apple.
Seconds later, the No. 9-seeded Isner wrapped up the victory, improving to 37-13 in tiebreakers this season.
Malisse exchanged angry words with spectators and the chair umpire at various points during the match.
Returning to Flushing Meadows after a seven-year absence brought about by a series of operations, 27-year-old Brian Baker, from Nashville, Tenn., moved into the second round by beating 92nd-ranked Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday.
"I remember several years, watching it on TV, wishing I was here, so just to be here is an awesome feeling," said Baker. "And then at the same time, the competitive side kicks over, and I want to do really well."
Baker began the year ranked 458th but is now 70th.
He's endured five operations since being a junior star. The list includes a second left hip procedure, another on his right hip, a sports hernia repair, and reconstructive surgery on his right elbow that is increasingly common among baseball pitchers and is known as Tommy John surgery.
Next up for Baker is a second-round match against eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
Tipsarevic needed more than 3 ½ hours to win his opener Wednesday, coming back after dropping the first two sets to eliminate Guillaume Rufin of France 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
In other results involving seeded players:
- Juan Martin del Potro (7), Argentina, def. Florent Serra, France, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
- Janko Tipsarevic (8), Serbia, def. Guillaume Rufin, France, 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
- Richard Gasquet (13), France, def. Albert Montanes, Spain, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.
- Philipp Kohlschreiber (19), Germany, def. Michael Llodra, France, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1.
- Tommy Haas (21), Germany, lost to Ernests Gulbis, Latvia, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.
- Andreas Seppi (26), Italy, lost to Tommy Robredo, Spain, 6-1, 7-5, 6-3.
- Mikhail Youzhny (28), Russia, lost to Gilles Muller, Luxembourg, 2-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6).
- Viktor Troicki (29), Serbia, lost to Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Germany, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
- Andy Murray (3), Britain, def. Ivan Dodig, Croatia, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
- Petra Kvitova (5), Czech Republic, def. Alize Cornet, France, 6-4, 6-3.
- Marion Bartoli (11), France, def. Romina Oprandi, Switzerland, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.
- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (17), Russia, lost to Kristina Mladenovic, France, 6-1, 6-2.
- Nadia Petrova (19), Russia, def. Simona Halep, Romania, 6-1, 6-1.
- Yanina Wickmayer (25), Belgium, lost to Pauline Parmentier, France, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
- Zheng Jie (28), China, def. Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia, 6-3, 6-1.
- Varvara Lepchenko (31), United States, def. Anastasia Rodionova, Australia, 6-2, 6-2.