Osaka is making headway at the US Open; Medvedev wins
Defending champion Naomi Osaka advanced to the US Open on Wednesday, while second-seeded Russia Daniil Medvedev and fellow fifth-seed Andrey Rublev advanced to the third round.
Japan’s third seed Osaka, chasing 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 sickness.
“I haven’t been feeling well over the past few days with a viral disease unrelated to covid,” left-hander Danilovic, 20, said on social media.
Osaka, who will next face 73rd-ranked Canadian Leylah Fernandez, could become the first consecutive US Open winner since Serena Williams, missing with a hamstring tear, won her third in a row in 2014.
Osaka’s consecutive Grand Slam winning streak remains at 16 games, the forfeit does not count towards the race, just as his withdrawal from Roland Garros after the first round did not stop him.
Medvedev, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, beat Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 while Rublev fell behind 5-2 before coming back to eliminate the ‘Spanish Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/2), 6 -7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-1.
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Medvedev, winner last month in Toronto, won his only previous match against Koepfer en route to the 2019 US Open final, which he lost to Rafael Nadal.
“Excellent level on my part,” said Medvedev. “There were a few tight moments in the game and I managed to play them well. I’m happy to be done in under two hours.”
Double Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza booked a third round showdown.
Spain’s ninth seed Muguruza, 2016 Roland Garros champion and 2017 Wimbledon champion, defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2, securing her first victory in four tries against the German.
“It was difficult because we are great friends,” Muguruza said. “I took my time and played well. It made the difference.”
She will then face Azarenka, two-time Australian Open champion and three-time US Open finalist, the 18th seed from Belarus who beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).
“The next round is going to be exciting for both of us,” said Azarenka.
Azarenka and Muguruza have shared four career dates. Muguruza won the most recent in 2020 in Rome and again by forfeit in the semi-finals in Doha this year.
“It will be a very difficult game. She is still playing very well here,” Muguruza said. “She’s still a dangerous player because if you’ve played well you can always play well again. She’s one of the best players in the world.”
Romania’s 12th seed Simona Halep, 2018 Roland Garros champion and 2019 Wimbledon champion, replaced Osaka on Ashe and eliminated 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 his deepest run at the US Open since 2016.
“I feel better. I am more confident,” Halep said. “Before the tournament I was a little worried about injuries.”
Ukraine’s fifth seed Elina Svitolina, a 2019 US Open semi-finalist, ousted Spain’s Rebeka Masarova 6-2, 7-5.
Britain’s 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 Alex Popyrin of Australia, who advanced 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4), 4-0 when Bulgarian 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov retired.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the third seed from Greece whose extended restroom breaks have become a subject of ridicule at the Open, has Ashe’s final evening game against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who is 0-17 in Grand Slam against top 10 opponents.
Tsitsipas has been ridiculed by three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev for taking long bathroom breaks and other breaks to disturb opponents.
Murray says he has “lost respect” for the Roland Garros finalist and Zverev joked that the Greek star goes to the moon to use the restroom.
Tsitsipas, who would tie his best run at the US Open by reaching the third round, says he only uses the rules available to all ATP Tour players.
“I play by the rules and I stand by what ATP says is fair,” Tsitsipas said.
Americans Coco Gauff and 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens meet in Ashe Match of the Night.