US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the Tokyo Open due to a right leg injury.

Andreescu claimed her maiden grand slam title with a victory over Serena Williams last Saturday.

The teenager will not feature in Osaka next week, though, as her exploits at Flushing Meadows have taken a toll.

"I'm sorry to have to miss The Toray Pan Pacific Open this year," the 19-year-old said. "I know It's the biggest women’s tennis event in Japan and one that I look forward to playing in in the future. Hope to see you all soon!"

Belinda Bencic also misses out following her run to the last four in New York - where she was beaten by Andreescu - due to a foot injury.

French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova is another player who will start the Asian swing later than planned, as she is struggling with a wrist injury.

Belinda Bencic does not believe she is far away from becoming a grand slam champion despite seeing her 2019 hopes ended in a US Open semi-final defeat to Bianca Andreescu on Thursday.

Bencic, who will return to the world's top 10 next week, enjoyed the best major of her career as she reached the last four at Flushing Meadows, having previously only gone as far as the quarter-finals in New York back in 2014.

Despite coming unstuck against outstanding teenager Andreescu, having led 5-2 in the second set, the Swiss feels as though she is making good progress.

Rather than identify the need for any grand changes to her game to improve further, Bencic suggests "small details", experience and luck will contribute to future success.

"I think it's small details that matter," she told a news conference. "I think it's not about your forehand or your backhand.

"I think it's overall just trying to improve even the one per cent more of fitness, of mental [strength], of serve. I think just, overall, everything – maybe even the game when you don't play so well, to put the level a little bit up.

"Yeah, I'll just keep doing what I do. I think I just need to create more opportunities like this, playing semi-finals, semi-finals, quarter-finals.

"Eventually, you have to give luck a chance. That's my motto."

Given her previous difficulties at grand slams, Bencic was able to look upon the US Open as a positive experience even with the 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 loss – particularly having retired with a foot injury in her previous tournament at the Western & Southern Open.

"Definitely positively, for sure," she said when asked how she would reflect on the past two weeks. "We reached more than I expected here. After Cincinnati, coming into this tournament, yeah, I think it's my best result, semi-finals.

"Really, I'm taking it step by step. I'm just really happy and positive about it."

Bianca Andreescu will play in her first grand slam final against Serena Williams at the US Open after coming through a fascinating battle with Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

Andreescu and Bencic were given an all too unnecessary reminder of what they would face in a potential final with Williams, who dismantled Elina Svitolina in the earlier semi-final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Their duel proved a more prolonged and engrossing one as two players with hugely impressive variety to their games proved extremely well matched.

However, Andreescu's superior power proved the difference in a tight and tense affair, the 19-year-old Canadian coming back from 5-2 down in the second set to claim a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 win that ensures a grand slam run few people expected will end with her holding a trophy of some kind.

Belinda Bencic is the last Swiss player standing in the singles competition at the US Open, a fact she is far from thrilled about.

Bencic progressed to her first grand slam semi-final on Wednesday with a straight-sets win over Donna Vekic.

She will next play Bianca Andreescu or Elise Mertens for a place in the final, carrying the flag for her country after Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer each lost their quarter-finals in the men's singles.

"This is not a good thing. I'm not happy about this actually," Bencic told a media conference when asked about being the last remaining Swiss.

"I'm kind of surprised, like I think everyone is. It would be really nice if the boys could also make it to the semi-finals. But I'm happy I can kind of do it for them and don't let them down."

It has been an arduous journey for Bencic to get to this point. She was once ranked seventh in the world but dropped outside the top 300 in 2017 as injuries derailed her career.

Now poised to get back into the top 10, Bencic was asked if she envisioned being a grand slam semi-finalist when she was battling fitness problems.

"I was dreaming, of course, about this day coming, but you never know what's going to happen," she added. "You're not thinking about it. You're just right in the moment. Either you're practicing or focusing on your match.

"I worked hard for this. It's not like I never imagined I could do this. Still, I stayed in the moment. Yeah, [it's a] very nice feeling.

"The dream of every tennis player obviously is to win the biggest tournaments. I think for sure being number one in the world or winning a grand slam is always a dream. But I think it's still a long way to that. Of course, I think you can see it there.

"I think the work and staying in the moment is more important right now. Just taking it step by step, like I said all my career. I know it sounds boring. It's how you have to approach it.

"You cannot think too far ahead because I think that's just going to kind of make it more difficult or maybe add some pressure or something.

"I'm just trying to get a step closer to that every day. Today I am a step closer."

Belinda Bencic reached her first grand slam semi-final with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 victory over Donna Vekic at the US Open on Thursday.

World number 12 Bencic has a slew of top-10 scalps to her name this year, beating Naomi Osaka for the third time in 2019 to reach this stage, but has repeatedly come unstuck against more modest opponents.

One such example was a Roland Garros reverse against Vekic but, despite a wobble in the first set, there was to be no repeat this time.

Bencic's reward is a last-four meeting with either Bianca Andreescu or Elise Mertens and the promise she will herself return to the top 10 when the rankings are updated next week.

Chances were at a premium in a tight and tense opening to the match, with the first set staying on serve without a single break point opportunity until the ninth game.

Bencic appeared to become distracted at 40-15 up and crumbled, a double-fault teeing up a break point that was capitalised on when the Swiss went long in the next rally.

Bencic responded in style by powering through Vekic's next service game, though, and forced her into the net to break back, although the number 13 seed was hugely frustrated not to edge the opener before a tiebreak.

The pair traded early mini-breaks but Bencic recovered some composure to take control and ease past her close friend, roaring with delight as the set was sealed.

Having let her frustrations boil over briefly, it was ultimately Bencic's calm that got her through as she held with confidence and preyed on some poor serving from Vekic to break at 4-3 in the second.

Vekic had been down match point in the previous round against Julia Goerges but another fightback never appeared likely and she failed to rescue another tough service game, going wide to hand Bencic a landmark victory.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Belinda Bencic [13] bt Donna Vekic [23] 7-6 (7-5) 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Bencic - 20/21
Vekic - 28/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Bencic - 8/7
Vekic - 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Bencic - 3/8
Vekic - 1/1

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Bencic - 58
Vekic - 55

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Bencic - 84/52
Vekic - 72/43

TOTAL POINTS
Bencic - 78
Vekic - 65

Naomi Osaka saw her US Open title defence ended on Monday, as defeats for two home hopes left Serena Williams as the last remaining American.

Osaka had looked in tremendous form in her third-round win over Coco Gauff, when few would have bet against her in the fourth round against Belinda Bencic at Flushing Meadows.

However, the Japanese star – who will be deposed as world number one by Ashleigh Barty following the grand slam – was beaten by Bencic for the third time this year.

Meanwhile, the incredible runs of Taylor Townsend and Kristie Ahn were stopped by Bianca Andreescu and Elise Mertens respectively, with Williams the sole hope for home singles glory as she chases a record-equalling 24th major.

 

BENCIC SCORES OSAKA HAT-TRICK

Bencic went into her match with Osaka having defeated her at Indian Wells and Madrid, and completed the hat-trick with a 7-5 6-4 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Prior to going on court, Swiss 13th seed Bencic did not appreciate the difference in the significance of the occasion, but conceded it hit her after the match.

"Before the match, I didn't think it was different [to her two previous wins over Osaka]. After the match, it definitely felt different," she told a media conference. 

"I just came with the same mentality like I played her before and just really focused on the game and not about the hype or the occasion, the stadium and the round.

"After the match, it feels definitely different. It feels like this was the most important one."

 

GOERGES NO MATCH FOR VEKIC MOMENTUM

Donna Vekic was match point down against Julia Goerges but produced a remarkable fightback to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.

The Croatian 23rd seed came through 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-3 in two hours, 43 minutes and knew she had the edge after saving the match.

"I think I definitely had the momentum on my side after second set," she said. "I knew she was going to be thinking about her match point.

"I'm happy that I could break her and then serve it out."


ANDREESCU SILENCES HOME CROWD

Townsend's career has been revitalised by her performance in New York, coming through qualifying before beating Wimbledon champion Simona Halep en route to the fourth round.

However, Townsend finally ran out of steam against Andreescu – the 19-year-old willing her way to a 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory to extend her best performance at a major into the last eight.

Andreescu did so in front of a vociferous home crowd that was predictably pro-Townsend, and admitted it was difficult to tune out the supporters who stayed around late into the New York night.

"It wasn't easy but I heard some Canadian fans, which is nice in tougher moments," said Andreescu. "I tried not to pay attention to that but it's hard when it's everyone. I'm glad with how I managed to keep my cool.

Ahn, who defeated former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, hit 25 unforced errors in slumping to a 6-1 6-1 loss to 25th seed Mertens.

The wildcard will break into the top 100 on the back of her exploits, though, and said of her ascension: "It's crazy. It's not like all encompassing euphoric as you think it will be.

"Maybe it's because in years past I've hyped it up so much. Right now, like, it feels good. At the same time it's like I want more versus I think in 2017 I would have, like, thrown a party for making top 100."

Belinda Bencic's previous experience as a top-10 player gave her belief she could ascend the rankings of the sport again after seeing her career derailed by injury.

Bencic reached the last eight of the US Open on Monday as he produced a magnificent display to beat defending champion Naomi Osaka 7-5 6-4.

The Swiss was ranked seventh in the world in 2016, but a succession of injury problems saw her drop to 312th by the time she returned in September 2017.

However, Bencic has worked her way back into the world's top 20 and now plays good friend Donna Vekic for a place in the semi-finals.

Asked about her experiences between her previous Flushing Meadows quarter-final in 2014 and her straight-sets defeat of Osaka, Bencic told a media conference: "Yeah, it's been a long way since then [2014], for sure.

"People always think I'm a little bit older than I actually am, because I've been here since 16, 17. I think definitely it was a good time. I learned so many things. I think everyone expected [me] to go just up. That's not how tennis goes.

"I think all true athletes have to overcome obstacles, injuries, just tough times. I think it made me a stronger person, better player.

"Of course, there were times when you're injured you wonder if you can play at this level again. Then I also believed if I'm going to get back and healthy, I can play on this level, because I proved it so many times. It was just about being consistent and if it was going to be enough.

"I think it helps when the belief is there, when you know you can be top 10. So when you have been there, you know that your way is working. So I think that helped me a lot through these injuries."

Asked about her improvement in New York, Bencic added: "I think just generally I think the mental part is just really important.

"In these top-50 players, everyone can play very good tennis, so it's not about who can hit a better backhand or who can hit a better forehand.

"I think it's definitely about the mentality, how you go to the court, how you approach, if you have fear or if you're playing freely."

In Vekic, Bencic will be playing an opponent who has endured similar struggles, having won her first WTA title at the age of 17 but then finding grand slam success difficult to come by.

"I think it means a lot, because she was also very good [at] 16, 17 won her first WTA title," Bencic said of Vekic. "Then it was, you know, the pressure and some injuries, some difficult times.

"Now we're both back. It feels very nice. I'm very happy for her. But definitely I want to win. But still I think it will be great that one of us will be in semi-final."

Naomi Osaka has not always dealt with defeat as well as she did at the US Open on Monday.

Her post-match news conferences following losses at Roland Garros and Wimbledon were much different affairs to the laid back discussion she had with the media after her fourth-round straight-sets loss to Belinda Bencic.

"In Wimbledon I walked out on you guys," Osaka joked. "In Roland Garros, I came straight from the match, so I was all gross and I just wanted to get out of there."

The reason for Osaka's change in reaction to being beaten stems from the events of Saturday in New York, when she won the hearts of sports fans around the world by convincing a tearful Coco Gauff to do a joint on-court interview with her after their third-round clash at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Osaka's sportsmanship and empathy was widely lauded, and the 21-year-old, who saw her title defence and reign as world number one ended by Bencic, believes the tournament and the experience she shared with Gauff has had a transformative effect on her.

"For me, right now I have this feeling of sadness, but I also feel like I have learned so much during this tournament. Honestly, of course I wanted to defend this tournament," she said.

"I feel like the steps that I have taken as a person have been much greater than, like, I would imagine at this point. So I hope that I can keep growing. I know that if I keep working hard, then of course I'll have better results.

"I feel like I'm more chill now. I feel like I grew. I don't feel like I put so much weight on one single match."

Osaka conceded to being surprised by the level of reaction on social media to her touching moment with Gauff, and by the extra support it earned her in the Bencic match.

However, the added backing could not help her overcome her opponent, with Osaka refusing to blame a knee problem for which she took a painkiller after going down a break in the second set.

"It was kind of weird. Yeah, I definitely felt like people were cheering for me more, which I appreciate. Yeah, it was kind of unexpected," she added.

"I hurt my knee in Cincinnati, but it's getting better. I don't want to say that that's the reason that I lost, because I obviously had played, like, three matches before this.

"The knee was a little bit annoying in the movement aspect, but I think that that's something I should have overcome in a way that I either should have started playing more aggressively or just, like, tried to, like, hit at a higher length.

Osaka, who also revealed she has not practiced serving due to being unable to land on her left leg, will have plenty of time to dissect what went wrong against Bencic as she prepares for the Asia swing and the fight for the year-end number one ranking.

However, for now the two-time grand slam champion appears more content to reflect on the many positives from a tournament that has had a greater impact on her personal development than either of those two triumphs.

Belinda Bencic produced a stunning performance to end Naomi Osaka's title defence at the US Open in the fourth round and bring her stint at the top of the world rankings to a close. 

Osaka won plaudits for her class on and off the court in the third round, persuading an emotional Coco Gauff to do a joint interview in front of the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after her straight-sets win over the 15-year-old American.

As a result she had plenty of backing under the roof of the same arena, but that did not inspire her to victory in the face of a magnificent showing from Bencic.

The Swiss had won her two previous meetings with Osaka, defeating her in Indian Wells and Madrid. Having had the benefit of Anett Kontaveit's withdrawal from her third-round tie, Bencic continued her hoodoo over the Japanese in fine style.

She completed a 7-5 6-4 triumph in one hour and 27 minutes, reaching only her second grand slam quarter-final with a win that ensures Ashleigh Barty will replace Osaka at the top of the WTA rankings.

Bencic quickly hit the ground running and opened up a 2-0 lead in the first set, only for Osaka to reel off three straight games.

Any thought that normal service had been resumed proved misguided, however, and Bencic struck again as she nailed a passing shot to break before wrapping up the set when Osaka returned a serve out wide into the net.

The world number 12 did a tremendous job of extending the rallies and brought up triple break point in the fifth game of the second with another astonishing pass at the end of a remarkable rally.

Osaka subsequently sent down a double fault and then called for the trainer. She carried on but was unable to make the inroads needed to restore parity as Bencic secured arguably the biggest win of her career, celebrating arms aloft as her opponent directed a tame off-balance forehand into the net.

Bencic will next face Donna Vekic, who overcame Julia Goerges in three sets, in a match between two players looking to reach the semi-final of a slam for the first time.

American Sofia Kenin saved three championship points to win an exciting WTA Mallorca Open final in three sets on Sunday.

In a tight tussle that lasted close to three hours, Kenin eventually saw off Belinda Bencic to win 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

After winning the first set, Bencic served for the match at 5-4 in the second but squandered several chances to win the tournament.

And Kenin made her pay, edging a tie-break before holding on in a tense final set.

"This is my special tournament and I'm going to keep coming back here for many more years to come," a delighted Kenin said afterwards.

The win was just the second title in the 20-year-old's career, a promising sign ahead of Wimbledon.

Kenin also has some grand slam form on her side, having beaten Serena Williams at the French Open, before being knocked out by eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round.

Bencic was left to rue 13 double faults, one of which came on her third match point.

Bencic - ranked 13th in the world, 17 places above Kenin - made a brilliant start, though, racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

Kenin won the next four games, to take a 4-3 lead, but then was broken herself as Bencic edged a see-sawing opener.

In stark contrast to the first set, the second saw no breaks, not even a break point, until Bencic broke to love to move in front 5-4.

And even though she dropped the first two points of her service game, Bencic still had three chances to win the title after recovering impressively.

Kenin dug deep, though, holding her nerve to eventually break serve.

She would go on to force a tie-break and won six of the first eight points before levelling the match.

Kenin then produced the only break of the third set in the ninth game, to take a 5-4 lead, before she comfortably served out for victory.

Anastasija Sevastova's bid to reach a fourth consecutive Mallorca Open final fell short as Sofia Kenin prevailed over three sets in the last four.

World number 12 Sevastova won this WTA International tournament two years ago, a victory sandwiched by defeats to Caroline Garcia and Tatjana Maria in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

But her record of reaching every final since the event's inception came to an end on Saturday as Kenin won 6-4 4-6 6-2 to advance to a showdown with Belinda Bencic.

Having broken for a 2-1 lead in the first, Kenin saw three set points go begging on the Sevastova serve at 5-3, but a subsequent hold saw her edge in front before the American again took the early initiative in the second.

Sevastova roared back from 4-2 down, though, reeling off four straight games to force a decider. Kenin swiftly rediscovered her poise and raced 4-0 ahead before securing a place in her third Tour final of 2019.

Awaiting her there is Bencic, who fought back from a set down to defeat reigning Wimbledon champion and top seed Angelique Kerber 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

The German eased through the opener thanks to a pair of breaks and, after both women dropped serve in successive games towards the end of the second, Bencic surged clear in the tie-break, winning five straight points from 2-2.

Having rescued three break chances in her first service game of the decider, world number 13 Bencic broke Kerber immediately and that advantage proved enough to see her through to her second final of the year, having triumphed at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.

Angelique Kerber's preparations for her Wimbledon title defence were boosted as she eased past the returning Maria Sharapova in clinical fashion at the Mallorca Open.

Top seed Kerber was taken to three sets by Ysaline Bonaventure in her first grass-court match of 2019, but she was a much more comfortable winner on Thursday against a rival playing her first tournament since January.

Sharapova, whose lengthy absence had been due to a shoulder injury, simply made too many errors, enabling the consistent Kerber to triumph 6-2 6-3.

In an on-court interview, the German said: "It's always tough to play against Maria, especially in the second round.

"If you have a lot of wins before Wimbledon, this is the goal. It gives me a little bit more confidence for the next matches and the next days before I go to London."

Kerber will take on sixth seed Caroline Garcia in the quarter-finals. Garcia needed three sets to overcome Spanish wildcard Paula Badosa.

French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova, 17, faces an intriguing last-eight tie against Belinda Bencic, another player to have enjoyed notable success as a teenager.

Anisimova defeated Alize Cornet 6-2 6-4, while Bencic - who reached the 2014 US Open quarter-finals at the age of 17 - was 5-7 6-3 3-1 up on Shelby Rogers when the American was forced to retire.

 

Elise Mertens dropped just four games as she eased past Andrea Petkovic at the Mallorca Open, with Sofia Kenin and Belinda Bencic also making it through to round two.

Fourth seed Mertens had a first-serve percentage of just 47, though it did not hamper her as she saw off Petkovic 6-2 6-2, converting match point at the third time of asking.

"I just felt good today and for my first match on grass," Mertens said in quotes published on the WTA's website. 

"I was a little bit nervous to get the win, but I'm really happy to get it."

Kenin, who beat Serena Williams at the French Open but was knocked out by eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in the last 16, defeated Mertens' Belgian compatriot Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 6-3.

Bencic, the third seed in Mallorca, secured a 7-5 6-4 success over Rebecca Peterson.

Karolina Pliskova became the first major casualty of the French Open on Friday, while Garbine Muguruza ousted Elina Svitolina in a blockbuster third-round clash.

Second seed Pliskova fell 6-3 6-3 to the in-form Petra Martic, who will battle Kaia Kanepi - a 4-6 6-3 6-0 winner against Veronika Kudermetova - for a place in the quarter-finals.

Muguruza kept her hopes of triumphing at Roland Garros for a second time alive by overcoming Svitolina 6-3 6-3, though Sloane Stephens and Anastasija Sevastova found the going much tougher.

Donna Vekic defeated Belinda Bencic 6-4 6-1 and will face Johanna Konta after the Brit defeated Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2 6-1.

Lesia Tsurenko finished off her match with Aleksandra Krunic to book a third-round meeting with reigning champion Simona Halep, while Madison Keys beat Priscilla Hon in another clash held over from Thursday.

 

PLISKOVA LOSS KEEPS OSAKA AT NO. 1

Four players had a chance to overhaul Naomi Osaka as world number one at the French Open.

After Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens pulled out and Angelique Kerber was stunned by Anastasia Potapova, Pliskova was the last of those standing when she stepped out on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

However, the Czech was beaten in straight sets by Martic, who took a 4-1 lead in their head-to-head by continuing her fine run with a 14th win on clay this season - more than any other woman.

Osaka now has one less thing to worry about as she aims to make it three major titles in succession in Paris.

 

SEVASTOVA DIGS DEEP

Sevastova and Elise Mertens both made major semi-finals in 2018 and they served up an enthralling match to start the action on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Mertens passed up five match points in a mammoth third set before Sevastova delivered the crucial break and served out the match to advance to round four.

"I think [my] aggressive play, probably it paid off. And just staying tough. It's not easy when you're always, like, 4-5 down, 5-6 down. It can go either way. In the end, we both didn't deserve to lose," said the victorious Sevastova.

Standing between the Latvian and the quarter-finals is Marketa Vondrousova, who downed Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets.

 

NO LET-UP FOR MUGURUZA

Muguruza came from a break down in the second set to triumph against ninth seed Svitolina and reach round four for the sixth year in succession.

However, the 2016 champions faces another tricky challenge in the form of Stephens next.

Stephens, the US Open winner in 2017 and runner-up at Roland Garros last year, beat Polona Hercog 6-3 5-7 6-4 after passing up four match points when serving for the second set on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Mugruza said of the American: "I think she's playing good. She did [make the] final last year here, so obviously she likes to play here. She likes the clay court ... it will be another good match."

Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep were taken the distance in round two of the French Open on Thursday, while Serena Williams avoided the same fate.

World number one Osaka came from a set and a break down to defeat two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka 4-6 7-5 6-3 in an enthralling encounter on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, where Magda Linette made reigning champion Halep fight for a 6-4 5-7 6-3 victory.

Williams appeared to be in improving form as she dispatched Kurumi Nara 6-3 6-2, while Ashleigh Barty got past Danielle Collins 7-5 6-1 and Belinda Bencic triumphed in a meeting with Laura Siegemund that was held over from Wednesday.

Seeds Aryna Sabalenka (11), Qiang Wang (16), Daria Kasatkina (21), Caroline Garcia (24), Hsieh Su-wei (25) and Maria Sakkari (29) all bowed out. Madison Keys (14) and Lesia Tsurenko (27) were in third sets when their matches were suspended.

 

NAOMI'S TOXIC TRAIT

After overturning a dropped first set to Azarenka, Osaka admitted the way she puts pressure on herself can make things difficult. However, the winner of the past two grand slams has no intention of changing.

She said: "It's more like I feel like I have to win. I acknowledge that's kind of a toxic trait, but, like, it's gotten me this far, so..."

Halep looked set to crumble when she surrendered three match points and lost four games in succession to Linette, who forced a decider.

However, the Romanian managed to finish the job as the light faded and rain set in.

 

SERENA THANKED BY ANISMIOVA

Teenager Amanda Anisimova scored a second major victory over Sabalenka, who she also beat at the Australian Open, in impressive fashion, triumphing 6-4 6-2 in just 75 minutes to become the youngest American woman in round three at Roland Garros since Williams in 1998.

The 17-year-old revealed how words of encouragement from Williams helped her following a second-round loss to Anett Kontaveit at the Miami Open.

"It was a really long match and I was super upset in the locker room, Serena actually came up to me and we shared a little bit of a chat. That was really nice of her and I'll remember it forever," said Anisimova.

When asked about the incident, Williams said: "I was heartbroken when she walked into that locker room, and I wanted to be there for her because I have been there. It's an interesting position, because no one ever says anything, even though I feel like a lot of people want to. I just decided, I'm not gonna do that anymore."

 

SEEDS TUMBLE

Just four seeds in the top half of the draw have booked their place in round three (Osaka, Halep, Barty and Williams), while Keys and Tsurenko's chances remain in the balance.

Anna Blinkova frustrated the home fans as she guaranteed her deepest run at a grand slam by knocking out Garcia 1-6 6-4 6-4.

Iga Swiatek, making just her second main-draw appearance at a major, ousted Wang 6-3 6-0, before Andrea Petkovic and Olympic champion Monica Puig upset Hsieh and Kasatkina.

 

SAFAROVA SALUTED

Tributes were paid to Lucie Safarova on Court Philippe-Chatrier with the Czech having called time on her career after she and partner Dominika Cibulkova lost in the first round of the women's doubles on Wednesday.

Safarova, a runner-up to Serena Williams in the singles at Roland Garros in 2015 and two-time women's doubles champion with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, was presented with a trophy by French Tennis Federation president Bernard Guidicelli and French Open tournament director Guy Forget.

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