Karolina Pliskova, the No. 1 women’s seed in the United States Open, was beaten in the second round by Caroline Garcia, 6-1, 7-6 (2) on Wednesday.
A significant upset on paper, it was no great surprise in the grand scheme of women’s tennis, which has become a free-for-all in recent seasons.
Garcia, a powerful French player with a complete game, was once ranked as high as No. 4 in 2018, and though she arrived unseeded at this Grand Slam tournament, she was the more consistent and resourceful player at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Pliskova, a flat-hitting and big-serving Czech, arrived in New York with a big opportunity with six of the world’s top 10 players missing, including No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and No. 2 Simona Halep.
But Pliskova, who reached the 2016 U.S. Open final after upsetting Serena Williams, remains perhaps the most accomplished women’s player without a Grand Slam singles title.
After a first round that was surprisingly stable with the top 24 seeds all advancing, the women’s tournament returned to its more usual unpredictability on Wednesday. Four of the top 16 seeds were beaten in the second round: Pliskova, No. 11 Elena Rybakina, No. 12 Marketa Vondrousova and No. 13 Alison Riske.
Pliskova’s defeat leaves two American women as the top remaining seeds: No. 2 Sofia Kenin and No. 3 Williams, who is chasing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.