Naomi Osaka's straight-sets victory over Magda Linette at the US Open was partially motivated by a desire to keep Kobe Bryant and Colin Kaepernick out of the sun.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant and former San Francisco 49ers star Kaepernick, whose activism has effectively ended his NFL career but seen him become one of the world's most influential athletes, were sat in Osaka's box on Thursday as she overcame Linette 6-2 6-4.

Osaka had to work harder in her first-round match, in which she came from a set down to defeat Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 in New York.

The top seed wrapped things up in much shorter order to reach round three, helping her famous fans beat the heat in the process at Flushing Meadows.

Asked if she felt added pressure having Bryant and Kaepernick in her box, Osaka told a media conference: "I don't feel like it's pressure, but I do feel like I did want to play well.

"I don't know. It's just funny to me. You know, like, last year compared to this year there is no way, like, Kobe would sit in my box. Yeah, Kaepernick, too. It's just crazy who you run into in life.

"For me, it wasn't pressure. It was just like I really didn't want them to sit in the sun too long, honestly. That was the thing that was on my mind. I was, like, I don't really want to play a third set."

On the advice Bryant gives her, she added: "Everybody knows Kobe gives me real-life advice. He's someone I look up to as an athlete and also as a person.

"I'm really grateful that I even have the opportunity to, like, talk to him and stuff."

Rafael Nadal received a walkover into round three of the US Open after Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrew from their second-round match.

Spanish star Nadal – the second seed – was due to close out Thursday's evening session against Kokkinakis on Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

However, the 18-time grand slam champion will now be able to rest ahead of his third-round encounter after Kokkinakis was forced to end his participation in the tournament.

Marin Cilic's match with Cedrik-Marcel Stebe has been moved from Louis Armstrong to Ashe to fill the void.

Nadal will face either Fernando Verdasco or Hyeon Chung in the third round at Flushing Meadows as the 33-year-old eyes a fourth US Open title.

Taylor Townsend pulled off the biggest shock of the US Open as she came from a set down to stun fourth seed Simona Halep in the second round.

Wimbledon champion Halep was expected to have few problems against the qualifier and world number 116, but was on the end of a remarkable comeback as Townsend prevailed 2-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) on Thursday.

Halep took the first set in dominant fashion, but Townsend found inspiration in the second set and brought the Arthur Ashe crowd to life in New York.

The former girls number one demonstrated outstanding reflexes at the net and took the contest to Halep as she set up a decider.

Townsend has to this point been unable to deliver on the potential she displayed as a junior, but she continued on the attack and punished the Halep second serve, breaking to love in game five.

Having only once previously reached the third round of a grand slam, any nerves on Townsend's part would have been understandable.

They promptly showed up as she let three match points go begging when serving for the match as Halep found her best tennis in the closing moments.

However, Halep wasted a match point of her own, setting up a frenetic tie-break that was settled when the Romanian fired into the net to an eruption from the home crowd as an emotional Townsend raised her arms and celebrated the biggest win of her career.

 

Petra Kvitova conceded she might have returned too early from the arm injury that kept her out of the French Open, as her grand slam season ended with a second-round defeat to Andrea Petkovic at the US Open.

The two-time Wimbledon champion reached the final at the Australian Open this year before being forced to pull out of Roland Garros in May.

Kvitova did not play any further tournaments prior to Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round before losing to Johanna Konta.

The world number six was undone at Flushing Meadows by a player she has consistently had problems with, Petkovic going 6-5 up in the career head-to-head with Kvitova by condemning her to a 6-4 6-4 defeat.

Kvitova revealed she has swelling on her arm but said the mental pain of skipping Wimbledon would have been more troubling than a physical complaint.

"Maybe I should take one more week before Wimby, but that means I'm going to skip Wimby, which, you know, on the mental side would be much tougher, I think," Kvitova told a news conference.

"Maybe the arm would be much better right now, but I didn't feel any pain. It's just getting swollen, which means something is there but I don't know what is there."

On her performance against Petkovic, Kvitova added: "I don't think I played that badly. I did have my chances, for sure, but somehow I just couldn't make it."

Asked to assess her performances in majors this year, the Czech left-hander said: "Overall I'm pretty happy, for sure. I had to withdraw from the French Open, which wasn't really a nice thing but that happens in the tennis career, so I'm taking it.

"I reached the final of the Australian Open, definitely the highlight of it. I could have missed Wimbledon but I was able to play and reached a good result over there. Overall, I think it was OK."

Naomi Osaka moved into round three of the US Open with a straight-sets win over in-form Magda Linette, but she did not have it all her own way.

Reigning champion Osaka was taken the distance by Anna Blinkova in her opener on Tuesday but avoided a repeat after reeling off five straight games to come from behind in the second set and triumph 6-2 6-4.

The world number one will face the winner of the encounter between teenage sensation Coco Gauff and Timea Babos in the third round.

Osaka was forced to retire from her Western & Southern Open quarter-final against Sofia Kenin due to a knee injury and admitted after overcoming Blinkova she did not feel at her best.

However, she started strongly at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday, not dropping a single point in her first two service games and then breaking to love.

The two-time major champion rallied from 40-0 down in game seven to earn a double break and promptly wrapped up a commanding first set.

Linette - who was on a nine-match winning streak that included clinching a first WTA Tour title at the Bronx Open - won against serve when Osaka buried a shot in the net early in the second and the Japanese was fortunate her opponent failed to repeat a stunning forehand down the line for a 4-0 advantage.

Osaka heeded the warning and came straight back, regaining her rhythm and surging into a potential blockbuster against Gauff that would delight the fans at Flushing Meadows.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Naomi Osaka [1] bt Magda Linette 6-2 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Osaka – 13/19
Linette – 10/20

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Osaka – 2/3
Linette – 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Osaka – 4/6
Linette – 1/4

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Osaka – 46
Linette – 55

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Osaka – 83/59
Linette – 55/50

TOTAL POINTS
Osaka – 60
Linette – 43

Kobe Bryant believes avoiding off-court distractions will be crucial for Coco Gauff after the teenager's stunning start to her career.

Gauff reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, beating her idol Venus Williams on day one of the tournament, before losing to Simona Halep.

She came back from a set down to defeat Anastasia Potapova in the first round at the US Open and was heading into a clash with Timea Babos on Thursday.

The expectations around the 15-year-old will only continue to rise and five-time NBA champion Bryant, who entered the league as an 18-year-old straight out of high school, expects her biggest challenges to come off the court.

"It's amazing at that age, not just the skill set she possesses, but dropping the first set [against Potapova], able to maintain her cool, maintain her composure, not get rattled, she goes out and performs," Bryant said at Flushing Meadows, where he was planning to take in Gauff's second-round clash.

"It's very, very rare to find an athlete at that age to be so trusting of your skill and be patient. She's a phenomenon for sure.

"It's the things that come along with the success at an early age, more commitments, more responsibilities, more opportunities, especially off the court. But you have to pick and choose and weave the way through that, so none of those things get in the way of her continuing to develop as an athlete.

"The hardest thing is knowing what to say no to, so that it doesn't compromise her progress as a player."

Serena Williams admitted she would rather not be tested in every match at the US Open after a "really rough, rowdy" win over Caty McNally on Wednesday.

The 23-time grand slam champion enjoyed a serene start at Flushing Meadows this year, easing past 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, but found life tougher against teenager McNally.

Errors dogged Williams as she dropped the first set and had to respond strongly to advance to the third round with a 5-7 6-3 6-1 victory.

The 37-year-old acknowledged the need to come through difficult matches such as this one but hoped she would not need to dig quite so deep every time during her bid for glory in New York.

"I think it's great because I want to be able to win matches where I'm not playing my best, play players who are playing great, be able to come through," she told a news conference.

"I need to be tested, I guess. That sounds scripted - actually, I'd rather not be tested in every match.

"But that doesn't happen, so it's important for me to have those really rough, rowdy matches. That helps a lot."

Williams suggested the victory over McNally was the type of win she would later be able to reflect on with greater positivity.

"Obviously I would be lying if I said I enjoy the tough matches more," she said. "But I think looking back years later, I enjoy the tough matches more.

"In the moment, in the weeks after, it's definitely a different feeling."

McNally won the girls' doubles title alongside Coco Gauff at the US Open last year and was delighted with the way she dealt with the step up in quality and experience against Williams.

"I think it just shows that I'm capable of playing with the best," the 17-year-old said. "I got a set off Serena Williams. I had her close in the second set, too, had some chances.

"For me, it just gives me a lot of confidence, shows me that I can compete out on the biggest stages. I'll just keep my head down, I'm ready to go back to work."

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic encountered different issues on their way to the US Open third round on a rain-hit Wednesday.

Only four men's singles matches were completed – and there was a withdrawal – as the weather caused problems in New York.

Still, Federer and Djokovic managed to get through their second-round matches, but it was not easy.

 

FEDERER RUSTY AGAIN

Federer made another slow start before getting past Damir Dzumhur 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-4.

The Swiss 20-time grand slam champion lost the opening set, as he did against Sumit Nagal in the first round, on the back of 17 unforced errors.

Federer again managed to recover, the five-time champion at Flushing Meadows progressing after two hours, 22 minutes.

INJURY WORRY FOR DJOKOVIC

Djokovic, meanwhile, claimed a 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 victory over Juan Ignacio Londero, but had problems of his own.

The Serbian defending champion needed treatment on his left shoulder during his win as he was pushed in the opening two sets.

While forced to come from behind in each of the first two sets, Djokovic dealt with the shoulder issue to move through.

NISHIKORI, DIMITROV INTO THIRD ROUND

Kei Nishikori, the 2014 runner-up, battled through thanks to a 6-2 4-6 6-3 7-5 win over Bradley Klahn.

The Japanese seventh seed was one of five men to advance, with Grigor Dimitrov joining him.

Dimitrov was scheduled to face Borna Coric, but the Croatian 12th seed withdrew due to a lower back strain.

The final man to advance was Dominik Koepfer, who got past Reilly Opelka 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Serena Williams moved through at the US Open but sister Venus was sent packing as rain wreaked havoc in New York.

Only five women's singles matches were completed at Flushing Meadows, where poor weather conditions prevented play on uncovered outside courts.

Former world number one and 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams took to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night and survived a scare.

Venus could not make it two from two for the Williams family, while second seed Ashleigh Barty advanced to the third round.

 

SERENA SEES OFF MCNALLY

Six-time US Open champion Serena Williams rallied to beat countrywoman Caty McNally 5-7 6-3 6-1.

Williams dropped the first set against her 17-year-old opponent, but the eighth seed eventually improved to 19-0 in the US Open second round.

The 37-year-old American superstar hit 32 winners and 10 aces, while winning 81 per cent of her first serves.

 

SVITOLINA VANQUISHES VENUS

Elina Svitolina booked her spot in the US Open third round for the fifth successive year after defeating Venus Williams 6-4 6-4.

Svitolina – the fifth seed – needed almost two hours to see off Williams in a second-round blockbuster.

Seven-time grand slam champion and 39-year-old Williams was asked about her future and plans for the remainder of the year.

"I mean, [it] was a great match. It was well-contested and it was great to have the crowd behind me," she told reporters. "It was just a really magical atmosphere.

"I did a lot of things right today. A lot of great things to build on. I missed Asia the last couple of years, so I'd love to head on over and play some more matches."

 

BARTY WINS AS KEYS HITS RIGHT NOTES

French Open winner Barty beat a brave Lauren Davis 6-2 7-6 (7-2) under the Louis Armstrong Stadium lights.

Madison Keys equalled her career-best winning streak by topping Zhu Lin 6-4 6-1 in the second round.

Runner-up in 2017, Keys made it eight consecutive victories after claiming her fifth WTA title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, third seed and 2016 finalist Karolina Pliskova eased past qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze 6-1 6-4.

Novak Djokovic revealed he did not know if he would be able to finish his second-round match against Juan Ignacio Londero as the defending champion overcame a shoulder injury to advance at the US Open.

World number one Djokovic pushed past the pain to outlast Londero 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

Djokovic survived a huge test against Londero, while the 16-time grand slam champion required treatment on his left shoulder during the clash on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 32-year-old needed work on his shoulder in the first set, with the issue clearly bothering the Serbian star in New York, where countryman Dusan Lajovic or Denis Kudla await in the next round.

Djokovic was late to his post-match news conference and he told reporters: "I had to take time to address the injury that I have. It has caused hindrance to my game for sure tonight, especially with the serve and backhand. It was not easy to play with this kind of sensation, to be honest. I did not experience that too many times in my career.

"I was also lucky to find my way back in the second set and to win in the straight sets. I had obviously, you saw, a medical timeout. At changeovers, I tried to use within the rules as much as I can physiotherapy and medical help. That has definitely helped me stay in the match.

"The way it has started for me, especially midway through the first set, I didn't know if I would be able to finish the match. I'm really glad I have.

"I'm going to assess this injury tomorrow [Thursday] even more with further consultations with experts in sports medicine. I'm hoping that in two days' time I will be able to play pain-free, if that is possible."

Djokovic added: "It is new in a sense that I've never had that particular issue in my career. It's not new in a sense that it has bothered me now for almost a couple of weeks. It has been there. I've been experiencing some days of higher intensity of pain, some days less. It has been really fluctuating a lot, going up and down.

"What happened today on the court, actually how I felt, was quite rough and unpredictable. But, as I said on the court, you have to deal with this particular situation the way it is.

"I did have not too many times in my career, but I did have certain situations where I had to, as probably anybody else in professional tennis, go through pain and just figure out the way I can finish the match and hopefully win. I got myself that win.=

"Good thing about grand slams is you have a day off in between the matches. As I said, I'm hoping that with a proper medical help and treatments, I'll be able to get myself in a better state than I was today in a few days."

Serena Williams survived a scare before getting past Caty McNally in the US Open second round on Wednesday.

Williams struggled to find her best form against the 17-year-old American before steadying to claim a 5-7 6-3 6-1 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 23-time grand slam champion, who has never lost in the US Open second round, eventually powered through the final set against McNally, dropping just five points.

Williams will face either Hsieh Su-wei or Karolina Muchova in the third round after surviving the McNally test.

Prepared to vary her game, McNally matched it with Williams throughout the opening set.

So impressive in a thrashing of Maria Sharapova, Williams struggled to find the same form and dropped serve in the 11th game, a huge forehand return helping McNally take a 6-5 lead.

McNally then came from 0-40 down when serving for the opening set, which the teenager clinched with a huge serve.

After an even start to the second set, Williams broke in the sixth game with a forehand return winner, although she was challenged before consolidating for 5-2.

Williams seemed to be settling and levelled the match with a huge ace and a volley winner from 30-30 in the ninth game.

And, Williams quickly struck in the third set, breaking to love in the opening game after another big forehand return.

She won 16 of the first 17 points of the final set, setting up a huge lead to power through.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Serena Williams [8] bt Caty McNally 5-7 6-3 6-1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Williams – 32/28
McNally – 16/30

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Williams – 10/4
McNally – 8/10

BREAK POINTS WON
Williams – 4/12
McNally – 1/1

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Williams – 63
McNally – 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Williams – 81/61
McNally – 62/44

TOTAL POINTS
Williams – 98
McNally – 73

Novak Djokovic shrugged off a shoulder injury to beat Juan Ignacio Londero in the US Open second round on Wednesday.

The world number one and defending champion needed treatment on his left shoulder during a 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Djokovic fell behind in the opening two sets before proving too good for Londero, maintaining his record of having never been eliminated before the third round at Flushing Meadows.

The 16-time grand slam champion will face either Dusan Lajovic or Denis Kudla in the third round.

Londero matched it with Djokovic from the baseline early and grabbed a surprise break in the fifth game when the Serbian challenged incorrectly mid-point.

However, he failed to consolidate, Djokovic – bothered by a left shoulder injury – needing six break points to get back on level terms.

Djokovic required treatment on his shoulder at 4-3 before taking the opening set, playing characteristically brilliant defence as Londero netted a forehand in the 10th game.

A double fault gifted Londero a break to begin the second set as he took a 3-0 lead on the back of winning 12 of the first 15 points.

However, Djokovic responded again, winning five consecutive games before needing a tie-break to claim the second set.

The pair traded breaks to begin the third before Djokovic powered away to win in two hours, 15 minutes.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Novak Djokovic [1] bt Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 35/35
Londero – 24/43

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 7/8
Londero – 6/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 8/17
Londero – 5/8

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Djokovic – 51
Londero – 62

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Djokovic – 71/48
Londero – 49/46

TOTAL POINTS
Djokovic – 102
Londero – 82

Ashleigh Barty moved through to the US Open third round after outlasting Lauren Davis in straight sets in New York.

French Open winner Barty – the second seed – was pushed in a hard-fought 6-2 7-6 (7-2) victory at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

Barty rallied from 4-2 down in the second set before prevailing in a tie-break to set up a clash with either 30th seed Maria Sakkari or Peng Shuai in round three.

The Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd was treated to a high-quality affair as Barty and Davis went toe-to-toe under the lights – the baseline rallies tense and fierce.

Davis broke back immediately after falling 2-0 behind early, however the American – with her left leg heavily strapped – was unable to fend off a fourth break point in the fourth game as she eventually found herself 4-1 down.

Barty wrapped up the 47-minute first set on the racquet of Davis, who – while only having one more unforced error than the former – managed just three winners compared to 13.

Davis refused to be overawed in the second set, with the 25-year-old's continued aggression helping her keep pace before breaking and consolidating for a 4-2 advantage.

Barty was kept pressed behind the baseline in the sixth game as she hit the net on three occasions – wasting a pair of break points.

Davis played well in the second set and while she failed to serve it out at 5-4 as Barty won four of six games, she saved three match points to force a tie-break.

However, that was as good as it got for Davis, who was unable to maintain her charge as she was swept aside in the tie-break.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Ashleigh Barty [2] bt Lauren Davis 6-2 7-6 (7-2)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Barty – 35/39
Davis –  13/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty – 8/2
Davis – 1/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 4/18
Davis – 2/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Barty – 54
Davis – 63

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Barty – 76/52
Davis – 54/47

TOTAL POINTS
Barty – 94
Davis – 77

Rain will prevent any further play on uncovered outside courts at the US Open on Wednesday, tournament organisers have confirmed.

Poor weather conditions in New York meant action had to be paused midway through the day.

Serena Williams will still take to the covered Arthur Ashe Stadium to face Caty McNally after Novak Djokovic meets Juan Ignacio Londero.

Number two seed Ashleigh Barty will also be in action against American Lauren Davis at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Earlier in the day, Roger Federer moved into the third round by beating Damir Dzumhur on Arthur Ashe.

As he did in the first round against Sumit Nagal, Federer dropped the first set but raised his game to come through.

Roger Federer said he can only get better as the 20-time grand slam champion sent a warning to the rest of the US Open field heading into the third round.

Former world number one and third seed Federer came from a set down for the second match in succession to prevail 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 against Damir Dzumhur at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

Federer has been far from convincing during the first week in New York, where the five-time US Open champion was uncharacteristically wasteful in his first-round victory over grand slam main draw debutant Sumit Nagal.

Runner-up to Novak Djokovic in a remarkable Wimbledon final before suffering a swift exit from the Western & Southern Open, Federer committed 45 unforced errors against Dzumhur.

Asked about his slow starts at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Federer – who is eyeing his first US Open title since 2008 – told reporters: "I have been in that position many times where you go through a little phase where you don't start so well and everybody asks you right away, 'What are you going to do?'

"You're like, 'I don't know. Just go back to the drawing board. Just do the same things again.' You hope for a better outcome.

"I don't think there is per se a secret to a good start other than warming up well, being well-prepared mentally, not underestimating your opponent. I did all of that. You know me, I will always do that.

"So when it happens like this in back-to-back matches it's just a bit frustrating more than anything, especially when the level is that low and there is that many errors and the energy is not kind of there. But I can only do better, which is a great thing moving forward."

"I got exactly what I expected from both guys," Federer said when asked if he was surprised in the opening two rounds. "I knew what Nagal was going to give me. I knew what Dzumhur was going to give me. But I didn't expect to hit 15 to 20 unforced errors, which is basically the entire set just sort of donated.

"But look, they came out and they were well prepared and got me to do that. But I clearly have to play better from the get-go."

Federer will meet either Dan Evans or 25th seed Lucas Pouille for a place in the last 16.

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