Naomi Osaka qualified for the third round of the US Open Wednesday without having to enter the field after the withdrawal of the Serbian qualification Olga Danilovic due to illness.
The 23-year-old third seed, chasing his fifth Grand Slam title and third US Open crown in four years, moved on when Danilovic had to retire ahead of their second round clash .
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Danilovic took to social media to explain that she was battling an illness unrelated to Covid.
“I’m so sad to have to retire from my game this morning. I haven’t been feeling well the past few days with a viral illness unrelated to covid,” the 20-year-old wrote on Twitter.
“I was really looking forward to playing Naomi at Arthur Ashe Stadium today, but not this time.
“I just want to say a big thank you to the medical staff here at Us Open and everyone for your support and I can’t wait to be back in New York for this amazing tournament next year.”
Osaka is trying to become the first consecutive US Open winner since Serena Williams (absent with a hamstring tear) won her third in a row in 2014.
Osaka Grand Slam winning streak remains at 16 games as forfeit does not count towards the race, just like it withdrawal from Roland-Garros after the first round did not end it.
Simona Halep moves forward as rain takes its toll
Meanwhile, the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which hit the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend, flooded the field to interrupt off-field games.
The show took place on the Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong Stadium courts, both protected by retractable roofs.
12th Romanian seed Simona Halep, 2018 Roland Garros champion and 2019 Wimbledon champion, replaced Osaka on Ashe and sent Slovakian Kristina Kucova 6-3, 6-1.
“I was a bit lucky to play here with the roof,” Halep said.
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 am more confident [now], because before the tournament, I was a little worried that I hadn’t played for five or six months, ”she added.
“It’s always difficult to handle the pressure but I think I did well. It’s great to be back at the US Open and playing and winning games.”
Spain’s ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, two-time Grand Slam champion, beat Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2 for her first victory in four tries against the German.
Muguruza arranged a meeting with her co-slam champion Victoria Azarenka, who beat Jasmine Paolini 6-3 7-6 (7-1).
“I think it’s going to be a very difficult game. I think she’s still playing really well here,” Muguruza said of three-time US Open finalist Azarenka, including last year.
Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a semi-finalist two years ago, defeated Spain’s Rebeka Masarova 6-2 7-5 while Ons Jabeur, the No. 20 seed, dismissed Colombian Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0 6-1.
Belgian 15th seed Elise Mertens earlier beat Greek opponent Valentini Grammatikopoulou 6-2 6-2.
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