NEW YORK — Maria Sharapova knows the story all too well: An unknown American kid shows up at the U.S. Open, upsets a seeded player, gains some buzz and belief, then gets a shot at Sharapova in the third round.
In 2009, that kid was Melanie Oudin, who beat Sharapova en route to the quarterfinals.
In 2010, that kid was Beatrice Capra and, well, let’s just say that Sharapova fared a little better this time around.
Overwhelmed by the stage, the circumstances, the 25 mph wind that knocked the neon lime visor off her head during a point, and – most of all – a solid Sharapova, the 18-year-old Capra didn’t win a game, let alone the match. Instead, 2006 U.S. Open champion Sharapova set up a fourth-round showdown with No. 1-seeded Caroline Wozniacki by blanking the 371st-ranked Capra 6-0, 6-0 on Saturday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“This was a new day,” said Sharapova, the first woman to win love-and-love at the U.S. Open in the third round or later since Martina Navratilova did it in the 1989 quarterfinals. “And what happened last year – I didn’t really want to go into the match thinking about it.”
Fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic, the 2008 runner-up at Flushing Meadows, shanked one serve straight up in the air off the top of her racket frame and finished with 41 unforced errors in a 6-2, 7-6 (1) loss to No. 31 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
There were no such surprises in men’s action. Five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer reached the fourth round by beating Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; No. 3-seeded Novak Djokovic had no trouble getting past American wild card James Blake 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3 at night; No. 5 Robin Soderling defeated Thiemo de Bakker 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; No. 19 Mardy Fish outlasted Arnaud Clement 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
Also, No. 13 Jurgen Melzer beat 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-3, 6-1; No. 21 Albert Montanes advanced when qualifier Ken Nishikori quit in the second set with a groin injury; and No. 17 Gael Monfils picked up a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4 win over Janko Tipsarevic, who knocked off 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick in the second round.
Last year’s U.S. Open runner-up, Wozniacki, has won 36 of 39 games so far, including Saturday’s 6-1, 6-0 victory over Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan.
Other women advancing Saturday included No. 7 Vera Zvonareva; No. 11 Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion, who beat No. 23 Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4 at night; and No. 15 Yanina Wickmayer.
The three games Wozniacki has lost so far this year are the fewest through three completed matches at any Grand Slam tournament since Mary Pierce dropped only two at the 1994 French Open.