Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open with straight-sets victories on Wednesday in New York.
Fernandez moved on with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi. The closely contested match came down in part to Fernandez’s better defence of break points.
Fernandez, from Laval, Que., was broken once on eight break-point chances. The Canadian converted three of nine chances against Kanepi.
Kanepi didn’t help her cause with 50 unforced errors, compared to the 36 committed by Fernandez.
WATCH | Fernandez battles from behind to defeat Kanepi:
Both players made their serves count, with Fernandez winning 80 per cent of first-serve points, compared to 78 per cent for Kanepi.
Fernandez will next face third seed Naomi Osaka of Japan. It will be Fernandez’s first time facing the defending U.S. Open champion.
Montreal’s Auger-Aliassime, seeded 12th in the men’s draw, defeated Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-2.
In a well-rounded performance, Auger-Aliassime had 12 aces and won 73 per cent of first-serve points and 83 per cent of available net points.
WATCH | Auger-Alissiame takes straight-sets victory to advance to 3rd round of U.S. Open:
Zapata Miralles won 65 per cent of first-serve points without registering an ace and had just nine winners to Auger-Aliassime’s 35.
Next up for Auger-Aliassime is a match against 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. The players have split their two previous meetings.
Osaka advances after opponent withdraws
Defending champion Naomi Osaka returned to the third round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday when her opponent withdrew because of illness.
Osaka would have been going for her 17th straight victory in a Grand Slam match. After missing Wimbledon during a mental health break, she returned to the majors with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Marie Bouzkova on Monday night.
The two-time U.S. Open champion hasn’t lost a Grand Slam match since Coco Gauff beat her at the 2020 Australian Open.
The 17-year-old Gauff was set for one of the featured matches of the day, facing 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens under the lights at Ashe.
No. 2 Medvedev takes down Koepfer
Daniil Medvedev eased into the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Dominik Koepfer.
The No. 2 seed and 2019 runner-up broke Koepfer’s serve seven times and moved on to play Pablo Andujar of Spain in the next round.
Fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev also advanced but 15th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, a semifinalist in the 2019 U.S. Open, retired after losing two tiebreakers and trailing 4-0 in the third set against Alexei Popyrin.
Sabalenka rolls past Zidansek to advance to 3rd round
World number two Aryna Sabalenka sent Slovenian Tamara Zidansek packing in just under an hour on Wednesday, rolling through to the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-3 6-1 win.
The Belarusian broke her opponent in the first game and never ceded the momentum as Zidansek struggled with her serve, committing four double faults, and making 19 unforced errors.
Sabalenka fired off 24 winners compared to just eight from her opponent in the lopsided match, as she dominated from the baseline and made only 10 unforced errors.
It was a significant improvement from her opening match on Monday, when the Wimbledon semi-finalist beat Serbian Nina Stojanovic despite 42 unforced errors over three sets.
Sabalenka faces American Danielle Collins in the third round as she continues her bid for a maiden major title.
Halep cruises past Kucova
Simona Halep is into the third round of the U.S. Open for the first time since 2016.
The No. 12 seed rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kristina Kucova at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where their match was moved after Naomi Osaka’s opponent withdrew from their scheduled match.
Halep has won two Grand Slam titles but struggled at the U.S. 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 quarter-finals in 2016.
She completed her victory under the closed roof while play was suspended again on the outer courts after rain returned.
Krejcikova advances with straight-sets win
Barbora Krejcikova has brought her breakthrough success in Grand Slam singles to the U.S. Open.
The French Open champion never had appeared in the main draw for singles at Flushing Meadows until this week and now she is headed to third round after a 6-3, 6-1 victory over 119th-ranked American Christina McHale.
Their match began on Court 13 and then shifted to Louis Armstrong Stadium — which has a retractable roof — after a heavy downpour arrived in the evening and threatened to wipe out action on the uncovered arenas for the rest of the night.
The eighth-seeded Krejcikova came into 2021 with a pair of Grand Slam doubles championships but only three appearances at majors in singles.
After winning both singles and doubles trophies at Roland Garros, the 25-year-old from the Czech Republic got to the fourth round in her Wimbledon debut before losing to eventual champion Ash Barty and now is one win from matching that in her U.S. Open debut.
Muguruza, Jabeur advance with quick victories
Garbine Muguruza and Ons Jabeur had quick victories to reach the third round of the U.S. Open.
The ninth-seeded Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion, beat Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2.
The 20th-seeded Jabeur routed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0, 6-1 in 53 minutes.
WATCH | Fernandez posts straight-sets win over Konjuh in Round 1: