Osaka Pulls Out Of Pan Pacific Open With Stomach Pain

Naomi Osaka of Japan gestures during her women’s singles quarter-final match against Zhang Shuai of China at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 5, 2018.
NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

 

 

Naomi Osaka’s woes deepened when the struggling former world number one pulled out of her home Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo complaining of abdominal pain on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Japanese was set to play Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round later in the day but withdrew saying her “body won’t let” her compete.

“It’s an honour to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan,” Osaka said in a statement released by organisers.

“This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on court today, but my body won’t let me.”

“Thank you for all your support this week and I will see you next year,” she added.

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam winner, was looking to end a poor run of form in Tokyo, where she is the defending champion from the last time the tournament was played in 2019.

She has plummeted to 48 in the women’s world rankings after a wretched run that saw her crash out in the first round of her previous three tournaments.

Osaka’s first-round match in Tokyo against Australia’s Daria Saville lasted just seven minutes before her opponent collapsed with an injured knee.

Saville retired from the match and was later found to have torn her anterior cruciate ligament.

Osaka admitted on Monday that she had gone through “more down than up” this year.

“This year has been not the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself,” she said, adding that she was “happy to be healthy”.

“Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Osaka has been outside the top 10 all year and endured first-round defeats at both the French and US Opens.

She withdrew from Wimbledon with an Achilles’ injury, after originally considering skipping the tournament because ranking points would not be awarded.

Osaka has previously talked about struggles with her mental health.

Her withdrawal from the Pan Pacific Open was just the latest blow for the tournament, which saw several big names knocked out in the early rounds.

Top seed Paula Badosa of Spain and number two Caroline Garcia of France were eliminated in their opening matches, along with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

Number six seed Karolina Pliskova lost 6-3, 6-4 to Croatia’s Petra Martic in the second round on Thursday to become the latest casualty.

AFP

Naomi Osaka Bundled Out Of US Open First Round

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts as she sits on her bench in between games during her 2022 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles first round match against USA’s Danielle Collins at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on August 30, 2022. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN / AFP)

 

 

Naomi Osaka’s hopes of a third US Open title were dashed in the first round Tuesday as the Japanese star slumped to a straight sets loss against Danielle Collins.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, a winner at Flushing Meadows in 2018 and 2020, was beaten 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 by 19th-seeded American Collins in a battle of two big hitters.

Collins, finalist at this year’s Australian Open, now advances to a second round clash with Spain’s Cristina Bucsa.

The 28-year-old right-hander from Florida will head into that assignment brimming with confidence after showing great composure to put away Osaka on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

No one was more surprised at the victory than Collins, who had skipped tournaments in Silicon Valley and Toronto to allow herself time to recuperate from a neck injury.

“I’m just really still kind of speechless in a way because I took the summer off,” Collins said. “To kind of come out here, play a tough opponent first round, someone that’s won two Grand Slams here, it’s not easy.

“Just really over the moon about being able to get through this first round because I don’t think most players want to face Naomi in the first round.”

 

Japan’s Naomi Osaka hits a return to USA’s Danielle Collins during their 2022 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles first round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on August 30, 2022. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN / AFP)

 

Former world number one Osaka, whose ranking has fallen to 44 after an inconsistent year, made a smooth start with an early break to take a 3-0 lead.

But Collins battled back into the match and took the first set after winning a hard-fought tie-break.

With both players producing some booming groundstrokes, the second set was a question of who would blink first.

Collins put herself on the threshold of victory after breaking Osaka for a 5-3 lead in the eighth game.

Osaka, 24, came within touching distance of securing the break of serve needed to keep the match alive after taking a 15-40 lead in the ninth game.

But Collins rallied back to deuce and then seized victory on her first match point when Osaka hit a return long.

 

Japan’s Naomi Osaka gestures after a point during her 2022 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles first round match against USA’s Danielle Collins at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on August 30, 2022. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN / AFP)

 

Osaka later said she had been bothered by a niggling back problem.

“I tried as hard as I could. I wanted to play without my back being in pain. I only really started serving two days ago,” she said.

Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Wimbledon With ‘Achilles’ Injury

(FILES) Former world number one Naomi Osaka pulled out of Wimbledon on June 18, 2022, with an Achilles injury.”My Achilles still isn’t right so I’ll see you next time,” the four-time Grand Slam winner posted on Twitter. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) 

 

 

Former world number one Naomi Osaka pulled out of Wimbledon on Saturday with an Achilles injury.

“My Achilles still isn’t right so I’ll see you next time,” the four-time Grand Slam winner posted on Twitter.

Osaka, 24, was already considering not playing over the ATP and WTA tours decision to strip Wimbledon of ranking points after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarusian players in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Osaka’s tweet, although not mentioning Wimbledon specifically, was accompanied by a photo of herself on a grass court, and an emoji of a blade of grass.

The Japanese player first suffered the Achilles problem in her opening match in Madrid in May, the injury forcing her to pull out of the following Italian Open.

This month she posted a video of a training exercise on social media accompanied by the caption; “Here’s me running on a underwater treadmill because my Achilles is being stubborn still I must be aging or something.”

Osaka’s name had appeared on the singles entry list for Wimbledon when it was released last week, but she has not featured in any of the grass-court warm-up events.

Osaka, who has never got beyond the third round at the All England Club, raised the possibility of missing the grass court Grand Slam after her first round loss at last month’s French Open.

“I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances. I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up,” she said.

“I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition,” she continued.

“The intention of this measure was good, but the execution is all over the place.”

Osaka’s withdrawal follows that of former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard who pulled out of the season’s third Grand Slam on Friday.

The Canadian said the lack of world rankings points didn’t fit with her plans to manage her return from injury.

Both players’ names were absent from an updated players’ list.

Osaka made it to the third round twice, in 2017 and 2018, with her last appearance at the tournament in 2019.

Osaka Pulls Out Of Italian Open With Injury

Defending Champion Naomi Osaka crashes out of the Australian Open
File photo of Japan’s Naomi Osaka during the women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2022. William WEST / AFP

 

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Italian Open in Rome to rest an Achilles injury ahead of the French Open, the WTA said on Monday.

The four-time Grand Slam champion suffered the injury in her opening match in Madrid earlier this month, before struggling in a second-round loss to Sara Sorribes Tormo.

“Unfortunately I’m going to have to withdraw from Rome as the injury which I picked up last week in Madrid hasn’t healed yet,” the Japanese star said in a statement.

“It’s an Achilles injury so I need to be careful, especially in advance of Roland Garros.”

The former world number one has never reached the final of a clay-court tournament, but will be hoping to put that record straight at the French Open which starts on May 22.

Osaka, currently ranked 38th, has shown signs of a return to form this year.

The 24-year-old reached the Miami Open final, where she lost to world number one Iga Swiatek, in April.

She has been replaced in the Rome draw by Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Dias.

AFP

Injured Osaka Pulls Out Of Australian Open Warm-Up

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

Reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka pulled out of a warm-up tournament for the opening Grand Slam of the year Saturday with an abdominal injury, casting a shadow over her preparations.

At the Melbourne Summer Set event this week, the Japanese superstar hit the court for the first time since her tearful early exit at the US Open, after which she took a long break to deal with personal issues.

She was due to play a semi-final against Russian Veronika Kudermetova in an evening clash at the Rod Laver Arena, but opted out.

“I had a lot of fun playing here in Melbourne,” she said in a statement released by the Australian Open on Twitter. “Unfortunately I have an abdominal injury which I need to rest and prepare for the #AusOpen.”

“Thank you to the tournament and the fans,” she added.

READ ALSO: ‘I Think I’m Going To Take A Break From Playing’ Says Tearful Osaka

The four-time Grand Slam champion beat France’s 61st-ranked veteran Alize Cornet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in her first match back on Tuesday.

She then demolished Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska 6-1, 6-1 before blasting past Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 7-5 to make the semi-finals.

After winning the Australian Open last year, Osaka withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon over mental health issues, before her early US Open defeat.

During her absence after Flushing Meadows, she tried to live a normal life away from the pressures of the tennis tour, spending time with family and friends.

“Then I just slowly started to regain the feeling of love that I had towards the game — and it’s not like it ever completely went away,” she said after her first match back.

“But I felt like it got overshadowed by a lot of emotions that I was feeling, just by constantly playing year after year… sometimes it’s good to remember why you’re playing.”

AFP

Osaka Vows To Have Fun After Making Winning Return From Long Break

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts after a point against France’s Alize Cornet during their women’s singles match at the Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 4, 2022. William WEST / AFP

 

Naomi Osaka said Tuesday that she aims to enjoy herself on the court this year as she won on her return to action following a tearful exit at the US Open in September.

The four-time Grand Slam champion, who has fallen to 13 in the rankings, said after her third-round defeat at Flushing Meadows that she was “dealing with some stuff” and would take an indefinite break from tennis.

The former world number one from Japan had mostly laid low before flying into Melbourne last week to prepare for her Australian Open defence.

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The 24-year-old was nowhere near her best but defeated France’s 61st-ranked veteran Alize Cornet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the Melbourne Summer Set tournament and said that being back in Australia was like “a breath of fresh air”.

Osaka is determined to avoid the “extreme build-up” of emotions last year that made her feel “sad”.

“I feel like for me, I only really have one major goal this year, and it’s completely unrelated to results,” she said, holding a press conference again after her stance last year over the negative impact they had on her mental wellbeing.

“For me, I just want to feel like every time I step on the court I’m having fun. I can walk off the court knowing that even if I lost, I tried as hard as I could.

“Also I have a goal in the press room — that I’m never going to cry again, so hopefully that works out in my favour,” she added.

“I’m the type of person that cared a little bit too much about the results and the ranking and stuff like that.

“And I just need to find a way to enjoy the game again because that’s the reason why I was playing in the first place.”

Osaka last year withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon over mental health issues, saying her problems were exacerbated by speaking to the media after matches.

She said on Tuesday her feelings and emotions were “like an extreme build-up and you just happened to see it all released last year”.

During her self-enforced absence, Osaka tried to have a normal life away from the pressures of the tennis tour, spending time with family and friends and enjoying sleepovers, something she had never experienced before.

“During the off-season, I just hung out with my friends and talked to my family a lot, and I felt like that was a way of decompressing the pressure I had on myself,” she said.

“Then I just slowly started to regain the feeling of love that I had towards the game — and it’s not like it ever completely went away.

“But I felt like it got overshadowed by a lot of emotions that I was feeling, just by constantly playing year after year… sometimes it’s good to remember why you’re playing.”

Her win on Tuesday set up a last-16 clash with Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska, who eased past Croatia’s Petra Martic in straight sets.

WTA: Osaka Falls Out Of Top 10 For First Time Since 2018

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

Naomi Osaka dropped out of the world’s top 10 on Monday for the first time since winning the 2018 US Open title as she continues to take a break from tennis.

The Japanese star, a former world number one, has not played since exiting the US Open in the third round last month.

Osaka has fallen to 12th in the WTA rankings, her lowest mark since before her first of four Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows three years ago when she beat Serena Williams in an infamous final.

Last week, the 23-year-old said that her return would be “probably soon” and that she “kind of” has “that itch again”.

Osaka had previously pulled out of the French Open and skipped Wimbledon this year to protect her mental health.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza jumped to sixth in the rankings after winning the title in Chicago last week.

Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who lost to Muguruza in the final, climbed to a career-high ranking of 14th.

WTA top 20 on October 4:

1. Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 9,077 pts

2. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 7,115

3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 5,285

4. Iga Swiatek (POL) 4,756

5. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) 4,668

6. Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 4,595 (+3)

7. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 4,376 (-1)

8. Sofia Kenin (USA) 4,190

9. Maria Sakkari (GRE) 4,055 (+1)

10. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 3,835 (+2)

11. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 3,735

12. Naomi Osaka (JPN) 3,326 (-5)

13. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 3,255

14. Ons Jabeur (TUN) 3,220 (+2)

15. Angelique Kerber (GER) 3,105 (-1)

16. Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 2,983 (+1)

17. Simona Halep (ROM) 2,982 (-2)

18. Elise Mertens (BEL) 2,885

19. Cori Gauff (USA) 2,815

20. Anett Kontaveit (EST) 2,616 (+3)

Teens Shock Defending Champ Osaka, No. 3 Tsitsipas At US Open

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

 

Defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan and Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas were both ousted from the US Open by 18-year-olds in epic stunners on Friday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka was shocked by Canadian left-hander Leylah Fernandez 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 after Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz upset French Open runner-up Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 0-6, 7-6 (7/5).

“Honestly the Alcaraz match gave me motivation and gave me the energy to do the same,” Fernandez said. “I saw his match and I saw the way he won and I’m like ‘I’m going to do that next now.'”

After the upset, defending champion Osaka announced she was taking a break from playing tennis.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during his Men’s Singles third round match on Day Five at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

“I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match,” Osaka said, wiping away tears. “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

Osaka, who had won her prior 16 Grand Slam matches, was foiled in a bid for her third US Open crown in four years and the first back-to-back title since Serena Williams in 2014.

Alcaraz is the youngest man in the US Open fourth round since 17-year-old American Michael Chang in 1989, and at any Slam since Ukraine’s Andrei Medvedev in the 1992 French Open.

“Incredible. Incredible feeling for me,” Alcaraz said. “This victory means a lot to me. It’s the best match of my career, the best win.

“To beat Stefanos Tsitsipas is a dream come true and to win here is even more special for me.”

Osaka had a major meltdown on court during the final moments of the second set after she was unable to hold serve for the victory.

“From the very beginning, right before the match, I knew I was able to win,” Fernandez said. “Thanks to New York fans. They helped me get the win.”

Osaka, who hadn’t played since Monday thanks to a second-round walkover, took the first set in 37 minutes on her sixth ace.

But she was broken in the 12th game of the second set, an errant forehand sending her to a tie-breaker.

That began a sequence of repeated racquet smashings as she was humbled in the tie-break to force a third set.

“I wanted to stay on court a little longer,” said Fernandez, who turns 19 on Monday. “One hour was just not enough for me.”

Fernandez then hit a forehand winner to break Osaka to start the third set.

Osaka saved two break points to hold in the third game and from there both held to the finish, which came after two hours and four minutes, sending Fernandez against German 16th seed Angelique Kerber in her first Grand Slam fourth round appearance.

“It’ll be a battle,” Fernandez said. “We’re just going to have fun. I’ll put on a show like I did tonight.”

Fernandez, the daughter of an Ecuadoran father and Filipino-Canadian mother, won her first WTA title in March at Monterrey. She had never beaten so high-ranked a rival as third-rated Osaka and the same was true for Alcaraz when he sent home the men’s world number three.

 

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez celebrates after winning her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

– ‘It’s kind of bitter’ –
Alcaraz became the youngest man to beat a top-three player at the US Open since the rankings began in 1973.

World number 55 Alcaraz next faces 141st-ranked German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, who ousted Swiss Henri Laaksonen 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

Alcaraz won his first ATP title at Umag in July, becoming the tour’s youngest champion since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in 2008 at Delray Beach.

The teen nicknamed “Next Nadal” was the crowd darling at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with roars erupting as he blasted 33 winners past Tsitsipas.

“Without this crowd, I haven’t the possibility to win the match,” Alcaraz said. “I was down at the beginning of the fourth set so thank you to the crowd for pushing me up in the fifth.”

Tsitsipas opened the final tie-break with an ace but Alcaraz jumped ahead 5-2 and 6-3 before finishing matters with a forehand winner after four hours and seven minutes of play. He collapsed on the court to celebrate.

“It’s one of those matches where you feel like you’re in control and it doesn’t go your way,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s kind of bitter.”

American Frances Tiafoe sprung an upset, ousting fifth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-1 in a late-night encounter.

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev, the 2019 US Open and 2021 Australian Open runner-up, beat Spain’s 74th-ranked Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4, 6-3. He will next face British 24th seed Daniel Evans.

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus also advanced with ease, beating American Danielle Collins 6-3, 6-3.

‘I Think I’m Going To Take A Break From Playing’ Says Tearful Osaka

Japan’s Naomi Osaka sits with a towel over her head during a break in her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

 

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, wiping away tears after a stunning US Open upset loss on Friday, said she will take an indefinite break from playing tennis.

“I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match,” Osaka said, choking up and wiping away tears. “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

With that, the defending US Open champion put on her Covid-19 facemask, rose and ended the news conference after losing to Canadian teen left-hander Leylah Fernandez 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.

The world number three from Japan, who withdrew from the French Open and skipped Wimbledon over mental health issues that she said were exacerbated by speaking after matches, declined a chance to end the session before saying she planned to take a break.

“How do I go around saying this?” Osaka asked aloud. “I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief.

“And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry, but basically I feel like…”

After saying she wanted to continue, Osaka, said: “This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do.”

Then she announced her tennis break.

Osaka said she thought she served well against Fernandez, but overall she added: “I didn’t play that well. Like I didn’t move that well at all. It’s kind of to be expected sometimes.”

Asked about trouble against left-handers, Osaka said, “I can’t even tell you how it feels to return it because I don’t think I could have returned a ball against a righty today either. I’m pretty sure my return stats were really horrendous.

“It wasn’t like she was serving bombs, so I’m not really sure what to say.”

Osaka had not played a match since Monday’s opener after getting a walkover in the second round.

“I think I would have preferred to play a match. I’ve never had a walkover in a Grand Slam, so that was definitely a really weird feeling,” Osaka said.

“I’m honestly not sure if I feel like I’ve taken a step today or this tournament. I feel like I’m not really sure what I can say about how I played just now.”

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off the court after losing to Leylah Fernandez of Canada during her Women’s Singles third round match on Day Five at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP 

 

– Maybe a ‘boiling point’ –
Osaka’s break from tennis, with a potential title defense coming early next year at the Australian Open, came on a night where she slammed her racquet to the court several times after missing a chance to serve out for the match in the second set.

“I’m really sorry about that,” she said. “I’m not really sure why. I was telling myself to be calm, but I feel like maybe there was a boiling point.

“Normally I feel like I like challenges. But recently I feel very anxious when things don’t go my way, and I feel like you can feel that.”

She compared it to a child’s temper tantrum.

“I’m not really sure why it happens the way it happens now,” Osaka said. “But, yeah, it’s basically why. You could kind of see that.

“I was kind of like a little kid.”

Asked if the trouble might have come from Fernandez’s serve or the tension of the moment, Osaka indicated it was other issues she was dealing with that caused the meltdown.

“I don’t think it was her serve because I’ve been able to return pretty well against people that served better,” Osaka said. “I don’t think it’s the occasion because I’ve been in this situation before.

“I guess we’re all dealing with some stuff, but I know that I’m dealing with some stuff.”

 

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

Osaka Advances By Walkover At US Open, Medvedev Wins

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 30: Naomi Osaka of Japan returns a shot against Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic during their women’s singles first round match on Day One of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

 

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.”

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 01: Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates after defeating Dominik Koepfer of Germany during his Men’s Singles second round match on Day Three of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 01, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

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.

‘This One Sucks’ – Tennis Star Osaka Suffers Home Olympic Shock

Japan’s Naomi Osaka leaves the court after being beaten by Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

 

 

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka’s dreams of home Olympic gold were crushed by a 6-1, 6-4 defeat to Marketa Vondrousova Tuesday as her return to action came to an abrupt end.

Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron and was one of the faces of the Games, struggled in an error-strewn display that blew the draw wide open after the earlier exits of world number one Ashleigh Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

“How disappointed am I? I mean, I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” said the four-time Grand Slam-winner.

Asked what went wrong, she replied: “Everything — if you watch the match then you would probably see. I feel like there’s a lot of things that I counted on that I couldn’t rely on today.”

The third-round defeat follows a turbulent few months for Osaka, who abandoned her French Open campaign in May after refusing to attend press conferences, citing the need to preserve her mental health.

 

Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova leaves the court after beating Japan’s Naomi Osaka in their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

Osaka also skipped Wimbledon, saying she had been battling depression and anxiety, before returning in Tokyo for her first Olympics including her starring role at the opening ceremony.

“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this. I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year (it) was a bit much,” said Osaka.

After looking assured in the first two rounds after her eight-week hiatus, Osaka made a dreadful start under the centre court roof at a rain-hit Ariake Tennis Park and never recovered.

“I’ve taken long breaks before and I’ve managed to do well. I’m not saying that I did bad right now, but I do know that my expectations were a lot higher,” she said.

“I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation.”

 

 

Japan’s Naomi Osaka competes against Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

 

– Slow start spells the end –
Osaka dropped serve in the opening game and was broken twice more as the 42nd-ranked Vondrousova raced away with the first set.

The second seed broke in the second set but relinquished the early advantage with a double fault that allowed Vondrousova to level at two games apiece.

The 23-year-old grappled with inconsistency, and even when given a sniff of regaining the initiative she had no response to Vondrousova’s array of crafty drop shots.

Osaka saved two match points as she served to stay alive at 4-5 but Vondrousova converted at the third time of asking as the Japanese superstar smacked a backhand wide.

Vondrousova will go on to face Spain’s Paula Badosa or Nadia Podoroska of Argentina in the quarter-finals.

“Of course it’s one of the biggest wins of my career,” said Vondrousova, the 2019 French Open runner-up.

“Naomi is a great player, she has so many Grand Slams, so I knew it would be a tough match. I’m very happy with my play.

“I played amazingly in the first set, and then the second set was really tough. I’m just happy to be through.”

Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina is the highest-ranked women’s player remaining in Tokyo.

 

Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan’s Naomi Osaka after winning their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

Earlier Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the men’s third round as he avenged last month’s Wimbledon loss to Frances Tiafoe.

The Greek third seed downed American Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4 in the opening match of the day as all play on outside courts was delayed an hour by morning drizzle.

Tsitsipas, who is also entered in mixed doubles with Maria Sakkari, will play France’s Ugo Humbert or Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Having lost to Tiafoe in the opening round at Wimbledon, Tsitsipas ensured there was no repeat as a single break in each set enabled him to wrap up victory in 77 minutes.

Osaka Crashes Out Of Olympics As Bermuda Celebrate Historic Gold

Japan’s Naomi Osaka leaves the court after being beaten by Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

 

Japanese star Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Olympics tennis competition on Tuesday after Flora Duffy delivered gold for  Bermuda for the first time in the tiny island’s history.

Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron in last week’s opening ceremony, produced an error-strewn performance in losing 6-1, 6-4 to Marketa Vondrousova, ending her cherished dream of winning on home soil.

The 23-year-old — one of the faces of the Tokyo Games — had not played since May, when she walked out of the French Open saying media commitments were harming her mental health.

The second seed, who was broken five times in the match, will be bitterly disappointed at missing out on a chance of Olympic gold, especially as world number one Ashleigh Barty lost in the first round.

Triathlete Duffy won the first gold of the day in the women’s event, making Bermuda the smallest territory or nation in terms of population to win a gold medal at a Summer Games.

The 33-year-old timed 1hr 55min 36sec to come home more than a minute ahead of Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown, with American Katie Zaferes taking the bronze.

For Duffy it was a welcome reward after persistent injuries and a diagnosis of anaemia in 2013.

“I have achieved my dream of winning a gold medal, but also winning Bermuda’s first gold medal,” she said.

“It’s bigger than me and that’s a really cool moment. That was the longest kilometre of my life (the final one of the run).”

– Pool duel –
Elsewhere, swimming powerhouses Australia and the United States won one gold medal each in the morning pool session and are on three golds apiece.

Australian world-record holder Kaylee McKeown upstaged American arch-rival Regan Smith to claim the women’s 100m Olympic backstroke crown as Russia and Britain also won golds.

McKeown, who shattered Smith’s world record last month, flew through the water at the Tokyo Aquatic Center to touch in 57.47 seconds, a new Olympic record and only fractionally outside her own world best.

Smith had to settle for third behind Rio Olympic bronze medallist Kylie Masse of Canada.

McKeown, who lost her father last year to brain cancer, said: “It’s not necessarily what I’ve been through. Everyone has a journey of their own and it just so happens that mine’s been a really tough one.”

On a day of upsets, American women’s 100m breaststroke world-record holder and defending champion Lilly King was beaten, and teammate and 100m backstroke champion Ryan Murphy also tasted defeat.

King was stunned by 17-year-old compatriot Lydia Jacoby, who swam a scintillating final 50m to touch in 1:04.95 and edge her into bronze, with South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker taking silver.

Russian swimmers Evgeny Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov took gold and silver in the 100m backstroke, pushing Murphy into third place.

Britain’s Tom Dean came back from two bouts of coronavirus to edge out team-mate Duncan Scott and win the 200m freestyle.

“I contracted Covid twice in the last 12 months,” he said. “It’s unheard of. When I was sitting in my flat in isolation, an Olympic gold seem a million miles off, but here we are.”

– Biles pressure –
Later, all eyes will be on US gymnastics star Simone Biles in the women’s team final as the 24-year-old four-time Olympic champion seeks to erase the memory of an uncharacteristically error-strewn qualifying competition.

Biles made mistakes on floor and vault  on Sunday and the other Americans followed suit as they failed to post the top score of the day for the first time at a world championships or Olympics since 2010.

The US women came to Tokyo as firm favourites but Biles admitted to feeling the pressure in an Instagram post on Monday, saying “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.”

With spectators banned from the gymnastics and most events at the Games to protect the Japanese public from coronavirus, Biles does not have a crowd to inspire her.

But it would be a huge shock if she failed to win a fifth gold to kick off her attempt to equal or surpass Soviet great Larisa Latynina’s record of nine gymnastics titles.