Monday, May 31, 2021

Osaka withdraws; Andreescu ousted in marathon

Naomi Osaka said she "never wanted to be a distrac-
tion." 2018 photo by Mal Taam
   No. 2 seed Naomi Osaka of Japan withdrew from the French Open today in the wake of her announcement last week that she would skip her mandatory post-match news conferences.
   "I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris," Osaka said on social media. "I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and message could have been clearer."
   Osaka, who has won four Grand Slam singles titles but never advanced past the third round of the French Open, added that she will "take some time away from the court."
   Meanwhile, Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia outlasted No. 6 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (2), 9-7 in 3 hours, 20 minutes. Andreescu was two points from victory serving at 5-4 in the third set, 
   Zidansek, 23, recorded her first main-draw victory at Roland Garros and first top-10 win. Andreescu, who missed last year because of a knee injury and the five-month tour shutdown, has not advanced past the second round of a major since winning the 2019 U.S. Open at 19.
   Also falling were former French Open champions Garbine Muguruza, seeded 12th, and Jelena Ostapenko. 
   Eighth-seeded Roger Federer, who will turn 40 on Aug. 8, dismissed Denis Istomin, a 34-year-old qualifier from Uzbekistan, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. 
   Federer, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee twice last year, played in his first Grand Slam tournament since the Australian Open in January 2020 and his second match on clay in two years. Istomin shocked Novak Djokovic in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open. 
   Both Federer and Istomin have played at the SAP Center in San Jose. Federer defeated Jack Sock in a 2018 exhibition, and Istomin lost to Milos Raonic in the final of the 2012 SAP Open.
   Federer is scheduled to meet Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion and a two-time Grand Slam runner-up, on Wednesday. The 32-year-old Croat eliminated wild card Arthur Rinderknech of France 7-6 (6), 6-1. 
   Federer is 9-1 against Cilic. They will meet for the first time since Federer won in five sets in the 2018 Australian Open final for his 20th Grand Slam singles title, a record he shares with Rafael Nadal, and second time on clay. Federer triumphed 6-4, 6-3 in the third round in Monte Carlo 10 years ago.
   In another matchup of players in their 30s, No. 31 seed John Isner, 36, beat Davis Cup teammate Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, 7-6 (2), 6-3, 6-4.
   The 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) Isner hammered 22 aces to the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey's nine and improved to 4-5 in the head-to-head series.
   Querrey fell to 0-4 since early February. The 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist has won one match in the French Open in the last seven years.
   Isner and Querrey reached their career-high rankings of No. 8 and 11, respectively, in 2018. 

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