NEW YORK (AP) – The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):
With Colin Kaepernick and Kobe Bryant looking on in her courtside box, defending champion Naomi Osaka stormed to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Magda Linette to advance to the U.S. Open third round.
Osaka, who needed three sets to beat first-round opponent Anna Blinkova, said afterward she was just happy she didn’t have to go the distance again. And she said she was relieved that her celebrity admirers didn’t have to endure a long afternoon in the hot sun.
Osaka’s victory sets up the possibility of an intriguing next match. If Coco Gauff is able to beat Timea Babos later, the 15-year-old American rising star would get her first shot against the No. 1 Osaka.
Despite wearing a brace on what has been a problematic left knee, Osaka looked strong from the baseline and was never in serious trouble on the shade-shrouded Louis Armstrong Stadium court. She put away an easy volley on match point to seal the victory over the No. 53rd-ranked Linette, who beat Osaka on tour last year and won the tuneup tournament in the Bronx just before Flushing Meadows.
Andrea Petkovic started the day at the U.S. Open with an upset, beating No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-4.
Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, could never get into a rhythm from the baseline or the net and piled up 32 unforced errors. The last came on match point, when Kvitova shanked an overhead off her racket frame wide.
For Petkovic, a German ranked No. 88, it was only the second time she has scored back-to-back main draw victories this year.
Next up for Petkovic is either No. 25 Elise Mertens or Kristyna Pliskova.
In other early results, 15th-seeded David Goffin beat Gregoire Barrere 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in less than an hour and a half, and No. 20 Sofia Kenin downed Laura Siegemund 7-6 (4), 6-0.
Play has begun at the U.S. Open under sunny skies, an expected high of 84 degrees (29 degrees Celsius) and no rain in the forecast.
Early matches from Petra Kvitova and Alexander Zverev kick off a stuffed slate of 75 contests in singles and doubles to make up for a Wednesday lineup that was washed out by rain except for the two show courts with retractable roofs.
Highlights include a second-round night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium between 15-year-old American Coco Gauff and Hungarian Timea Babos. Top-seeded Naomi Osaka plays there earlier against Magda Linette. If both Gauff and Osaka win, they would face each other in the third round on the weekend.
On the men’s side, second-seeded Rafael Nadal faces Thanasi Kokkinakis in the late match on Ashe, No. 5 Daniil Medvedev plays Hugo Dellien and Nick Kyrgios takes on Antoine Hoang.
Coco Gauff has a match at night and a possible showdown with Naomi Osaka if she wins it.
And the U.S. Open has some catching up to do.
Gauff and Osaka are in action during a fourth day of play that will be a little busier than usual as tournament officials try to reschedule matches that were postponed by rain Wednesday.
Gauff, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, opens the Thursday night session on Louis Armstrong Stadium against Timea Babos. Osaka plays there earlier against Magda Linette. If both win, it’s the 15-year-old Gauff against the top-ranked defending champion in the third round on the weekend.
Rafael Nadal and his upset-filled half of the men’s bracket are scheduled to play, along with Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki.
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