Japan’s Naomi Osaka, reigning champion of the United States Open tennis, qualified directly for the third round of the 2021 edition of the tournament because her rival on Wednesday, Olga Danilovic, previously withdrew for “medical reasons.”
In a day that started late due to the rain in New York, the Japanese avoided her second-round commitment against Danilovic and will now face Canadian Leylah Fernandez or Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the third round.
Only an hour before the start of the clash between Osaka and Danilovic, the organizers of the Open reported that the young Serbian tennis player withdrew “for a medical reason”, without giving further details.
“I am very sad to have to withdraw from my party this morning,” Danilovic later said on his Instagram account, ruling out that his abandonment is related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have felt bad in recent days due to a viral illness not related to covid,” he said. “I really wanted to play Naomi on the Arthur Ashe court today (…) I want to thank the US Open medical team and everyone for their support.”
Danilovic, 20, had defeated American Alycia Parks in her premiere on Monday.
Osaka, meanwhile, beat the Czech Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-1 that same day and extended her streak of consecutive victories to 16.
The Japanese star is pursuing his third Open crown, and fifth Grand Slam title, of the past four years.
At 23, Osaka also aspires to become the first player to win the US Open twice in a row since Serena Williams was crowned for the third year in a row in 2014.
– Muguruza gets ahead of Petkovic –
On Wednesday morning, rain from remnants of Hurricane Ida, which hit the US Gulf Coast over the weekend, delayed the start of play on the outdoor courts of the Open.
On the Louis Armstrong court, covered by its retractable roof, the Spanish-Venezuelan Garbiñe Muguruza began her clash against the German Andrea Petkovic, winning the first set 6-4.
Muguruza, winner of two Grand Slam tournaments and current number 10 in the WTA ranking, had suffered more than expected on Monday to defeat Croatian Donna Vekic in her debut in two tight sets of 7-6 (7/4) and 7-6 (7/5).
The matches of the Spanish Pedro Martínez were also launched, against the Russian Andrey Rublev (fifth seed); Carlos Alcaraz against the French Arthur Rinderknech, and Rebeka Masarova against the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.
Colombian María Camila Osorio, meanwhile, saw the first set vanish 6-0 against Tunisian Ons Jabeur.
The second seed of the men’s tournament, the Russian Daniil Medvedev, faced on the track Arthur Ashe the German Dominik Koepfer, who is ranked 57 in the ATP ranking.
Medvedev, runner-up at the 2019 US Open and the 2021 Australian Open, defeated Koepfer in their only meeting at the 2019 US Open en route to a final that he lost to Rafael Nadal.
The action of the night program at the Arthur Ashe will be opened by the American Sloane Stephens, champion of the US Open 2017, against her compatriot Coco Gauff, 17 years old.
The game that will close the day on the main field of the tournament will be starred by the third seed, the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, and the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Greek has become a focus of complaints from some colleagues about the long bathroom breaks he takes often. In the first round the situation aroused the ire of Scotsman Andy Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion.
The eleventh-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman will play South African Kevin Anderson and the Colombian doubles pair of Robert Farah and Juan Sebastián Cabal will face the Poles Hubert Hurkacz and Szymon Walkow. (AFP)