Pironkova into US Open last 16 after Vekic upset


New York (AFP)

Unranked Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova extended her US Open giant-killing run on Saturday, scoring a second consecutive upset with a straight-sets defeat of 18th seed Donna Vekic.

Pironkova, who is playing her first tournament in three years, polished off Croatia's Vekic 6-4, 6-1 in just over an hour.

The 32-year-old, who had eliminated 10th seed Garbine Muguruza in the second round, will face either seventh seed Madison Keys or France's Alize Cornet in the last 16.

Pironkova's run to the fourth round equals her best performance at the US Open, when she reached the last 16 in 2012, where she lost to Ana Ivanovic.

Pironkova only returned to tennis this season after taking a three-year break from the WTA Tour, during which she gave birth to her son.

Because of her long absence from the sport, and the disruption caused this season by the coronavirus pandemic, Pironkova does not have a world ranking.

Her last tournament appearance before this week's event at Flushing Meadows came at Wimbledon in 2017, when she exited in the second round.

Pironkova's best performance in a Grand Slam came in 2010, when she reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon.