Osaka Advances By Walkover At US Open, Medvedev Wins
Defending champion Naomi Osaka advanced by walkover at the US Open on Wednesday while Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev and fifth-seeded compatriot Andrey Rublev breezed into the third round.
Japanese third seed Osaka, seeking her fifth Grand Slam title and third US Open crown in four years, reached the third round when Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic withdrew due to illness.
“I have been feeling unwell these past few days dealing with a non-covid related viral ilness,” 20-year-old left-hander Danilovic posted on social media.
Osaka, who next faces Canada’s 73rd-ranked Leylah Fernandez, could become the first back-to-back US Open winner since Serena Williams, absent with a torn hamstring, captured her third in a row in 2014.
Osaka’s Grand Slam win streak remains at 16 matches, the walkover not counting toward the run just as her withdrawing from the French Open after the first round did not halt it.
Medvedev, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, defeated Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 while Rublev fell behind 5-2 before roaring back to eliminate Spaniard Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-1.
Medvedev, a winner last month in Toronto, won his only prior match against Koepfer on his way to the 2019 US Open final, which he lost to Rafael Nadal.
“Great level from me,” Medvedev said. “There were a few tight moments in the match and I managed to play them well. I’m happy to be through in less than two hours.”
Two-time Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza booked a third-round showdown.
Spanish ninth seed Muguruza, the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion, defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2, taking her first win in four tries against the German.
“It was dificult because we are great friends,” Muguruza said. “I took my time and played well. That made a difference.”
She will next face two-time Australian Open champion and three-time US Open runner-up Azarenka, the 18th seed from Belarus who defeated Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).
“The next round is going to be exciting for both of us,” Azarenka said.
Azarenka and Muguruza have split four career meetings. Muguruza won the most recent in 2020 at Rome and again by walkover in this year’s Doha semi-finals.
“It’s going to be a very difficult match. She always plays great here,” Muguruza said. “She’s always a dangerous player, because if you played great you can always play great again. She’s one of the best players out there.”
Romanian 12th seed Simona Halep, the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion, replaced Osaka on Ashe and dispatched Slovakian Kristina Kucova 6-3, 6-1.
Despite a bandaged right thigh and a year of nagging injuries, Halep advanced on a service winner after 68 minutes for her deepest US Open run since 2016.
“I feel better. I’m more confident,” Halep said. “Before the tournament, I was a little worried with injuries.”
Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a 2019 US Open semi-finalist, ousted Spain’s Rebeka Masarova 6-2, 7-5.
British 24th seed Daniel Evans beat American Marcos Giron 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-3 to book a third-round match against Australian Alex Popyrin, who advanced 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4), 4-0 when Bulgarian 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov retired.
– Plan for toilet breaks –
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Greek third seed whose extended bathroom breaks have become the subject of ridicule at the Open, has the last Ashe night match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who is 0-17 in Grand Slams against top-10 opponents.
Tsitsipas was derided by three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev for taking long toilet breaks and other pauses to disrupt opponents.
Murray says he “lost respect” for the French Open runner-up and Zverev joked the Greek star travels to the moon to use the bathroom.
Tsitsipas, who would match his best US Open run by reaching the third round, says he’s only using rules available to all ATP Tour players.
“I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair,” Tsitsipas said.
Americans Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner, meet in the Ashe night feature match.