Osaka gets walkover; Muguruza, Halep advance

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NEW YORK — Defending champion Naomi Osaka advanced to the third round at the US Open on Wednesday following the withdrawal of her second-round opponent, Olga Danilovic, while Simona Halep is into the third round for the first time since 2016.

Danilovic, a qualifier who is ranked No. 145, wrote on social media that she had “a non-Covid related viral illness.”

Osaka has twice won the US Open title, in 2018 and 2020. She is seeking her fifth major title in New York and will next play the winner of Wednesday’s Leylah FernandezKaia Kanepi match for a spot in the fourth round.

The 12th-seeded Halep rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kristina Kucova. Halep has won two Grand Slam titles but struggled at the US Open. She lost in the first round in consecutive appearances in 2017 and 2018 and hadn’t gone past the second round since reaching the quarterfinals in 2016.

But Halep has made a strong return after missing the French Open and Wimbledon with a calf injury.

“Already it’s a better result than when I was healthy, so it’s a good thing to be in the third round here,” she joked.

The tournament could be filled with changes and delays Wednesday, as heavy rain, occasional thunderstorms and the potential for flooding are in the forecast. Only two courts, Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong Stadium, have roofs. Play did start on the outside courts Wednesday after they were dried following morning rain before being suspended again.

Among the winners Wednesday were Garbine Muguruza and Ons Jabeur, who both reached the third round with quick victories.

The ninth-seeded Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion, beat Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2 and will next face No. 18 seed Victoria Azarenka, who reached her third US Open final last year and topped Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 7-6 (1) on Wednesday.

“I think it’s going to be a very difficult match. I think she always plays great here,” Muguruza said. “I think that’s the best. Just to go out there and play with people that are top level.”

The 20th-seeded Jabeur routed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0, 6-1 in 53 minutes, No. 5 Elina Svitolina defeated Rebeka Masarova 6-2, 7-5 and No. 15 Elise Mertens beat Valentini Grammatikopoulou 6-2, 6-2

The Associated Press contributed to this report.





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