NEW YORK (AP) — Fourth-seeded David Ferrer became the first top-10 seed to fall in the men’s draw of the U.S. Open, losing to Gilles Simon 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the third round Sunday.
Simon, seeded 26th, confounded Ferrer with a variety of shots that kept him out of sync. Ferrer piled up an uncharacteristic 52 unforced errors, nearly twice as many as Simon.
The skinny Frenchman said he was relaxed on a hot, humid, sunny day in Louis Armstrong Stadium, noting that Ferrer had dominated their previous matchups 5-1 and not many of them were close.
“He destroyed me every time, so I felt I had nothing to lose,” Simon said. “I just wanted to go out and enjoy myself on the court.”
Going into Sunday, none of the top 10 men’s seeds had lost. For Ferrer, it marks his second straight early exit from a Grand Slam tournament after a second-round loss to Andrey Kuznetsov at Wimbledon. That ended the Spaniard’s streak of 10 straight major tournament quarterfinals.
Simon moves on to play the winner of the match between 14th-seeded Marin Cilic and 18th-seeded Kevin Anderson.
Earlier, 13th-seeded Sara Errani used steady shots and her soft serve to reach the quarterfinals, beating 32-year-old qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 to end the tournament’s most unlikely comeback story.
Errani, the 2012 French Open runner-up, was content to play counterpuncher to the big-hitting Lucic-Baroni, who racked up 69 unforced errors. Errani made nearly 90 percent of her first serves, which averaged a mere 76 mph, and dared her big-hitting opponent to over hit. Which she did.
“I just have to try to make her make mistakes. This is my game against her,” said Errani, an Italian scrambler who looks shorter than her listed 5-foot-4. “The important thing for me was to try to move her, try to be more consistent again, and try to be aggressive.”
The 121st-ranked Lucic-Baroni, who upset second-seeded Simona Halep in the third round, is a former teen prodigy who last made a deep run in a Grand Slam tournament in 1999, when she reached the semifinals of Wimbledon. But family issues, money woes and injuries sidetracked her career, and she didn’t make the draw of any major tournament for nearly eight years until 2010.
“This has been a great two weeks, the best so far since I can remember for a long time,” she said. “Today I felt like I ran out of gas a little bit.”
Errani next plays fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova or 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, a match that promises to add to the wreckage of among the top-seeded women. Half the top 10 seeds were all gone before the end of Week 1. Of the top eight women, No. 1 Serena Williams, Sharapova and No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard remained.
Second-seeded Roger Federer played later against Spaniard Marcel Granollers and No. 6 Tomas Berdych played Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili.
In a night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, No. 7-seeded Grigor Dimitrov faces 56th-ranked David Goffin of Belgium, who since losing to Andy Murray in the first round at Wimbledon has gone 27-1, mostly in smaller tournaments.