NEW YORK • Former women's world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki has slammed US Open organisers for putting her on an outside court while Maria Sharapova, in her first Grand Slam since returning from a doping ban, has featured on the tournament's main stage.
World No. 5 Wozniacki, twice a runner-up at Flushing Meadows, was upset by Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1 in a second-round match that went into the wee hours on Thursday.
That was well after Sharapova soaked up the applause in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she has played and won both her matches - seeing off Hungary's Timea Babos on Wednesday, two days after she had knocked out world No. 2 Simona Halep on the same court.
"Putting out a schedule where the No. 5 in the world is playing on court five, fifth match on after 11pm, I think that is unacceptable," said the Dane, who became the fourth top-10 woman to exit the US Open on Wednesday.
"When you look at centre court, and I understand completely the business side of things, but someone who comes back from a drugs sentence, performance-enhancing drugs, and then all of a sudden gets to play every single match on centre court, I think that's a questionable thing to do. It doesn't set a good example.
"Someone who has fought their way back from injury and is five in the world should play on a bigger court than court No. 5."
Wozniacki played her opening match on Monday on the third show court, Grandstand. But her second-round match, scheduled for court No. 5, was ultimately moved to court 17 as the organisers had to fit in a backlog of matches following Tuesday's rain.
Men's 2nd rd
Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Taro Daniel (Jpn) 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2, Aleksandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) bt Tomas Berdych (Cze) 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, Andrey Rublev (Rus) bt Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 6-3, Roger Federer (Sui) bt Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 6-4 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut (Esp) bt Dustin Brown (Ger) 6-1 6-3 7-6 (7-3), Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) bt Adrian Menendez (Esp) 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-3), Dominic Thiem (Aut) bt Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-4 6-4 4-6 7-5.
Women's 2nd rd
Karolina Pliskova (Cze) bt Nicole Gibbs (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-4, Zhang Shuai (Chn) bt Risa Ozaki (Jpn) 6-0 6-3, Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Yulia Putintseva (Kaz) 7-5 6-2, Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt Ons Jabeur (Tun) 7-6 (8-6) 6-2, Kurumi Nara (Jpn) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) 6-3 3-6 6-3, Elina Svitolina (Ukr) bt Evgeniya Rodina (Rus) 6-4 6-4, Madison Keys (USA) bt Tatjana Malek (Ger) 6-3 6-4, Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) bt Sorana Cirstea (Rom) 6-4 6-4, Naomi Osaka (Jpn) bt Denisa Allertova (Cze) 6-3 4-6 7-5.
Sharapova, who returned from a 15-month doping ban in April after testing positive for meldonium, was handed a wild card for the year's final Grand Slam after being denied one at the French Open. The Russian, who counts the 2006 US Open among her five Grand Slam titles, has quickly reclaimed her status as the tennis darling of the Big Apple.
Many players, however, have been less enthusiastic about seeing former world No. 1 Sharapova back in the spotlight as if nothing had happened. Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who voiced her unhappiness earlier in the year about Sharapova getting wild cards, was asked her thoughts.
She said very little, but her message was clear: "My thoughts on that are very public."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE