NEW YORK - Five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova joined the exodus of US Open top seeds yesterday, succumbing in three sets to former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.
The 10th-seeded Dane booked a quarter-final berth with a 6-4 2-6 6-2 triumph on a steamy Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
The conditions were so punishing that the players were granted a break in the locker room before the third set, and when they returned to the court Wozniacki wasted little time, breaking Sharapova to love in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead.
She broke the Russian superstar again in the final game to seal the victory and a chance to play 13th-seeded Italian Sara Errani in a semi-final berth.
Errani ended the magical run of 32-year-old Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 2-6 6-0.
"It means so much to me," said Wozniacki, the 2009 runner-up who reached the semi-finals in 2010 and 2011 but hadn't been past the third round at Flushing Meadows the last two years.
"It's been a bit up and down for me this season," she added.
"To win today against a champion like Maria is an unbelievable feeling."
The departure of fifth-seeded Sharapova leaves just two of the women's top eight - world No.1 and two-time defending champion Serena Williams and seventh-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.