Oroville Mercury-Register

Stephens tops Gauff; Osaka’s foe withdraws

- By Howard Fendrich

NEW YORK >> Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff met in an official match for the first time Wednesday night at the U.S. Open, and it was Stephens, the 2017 champion now ranked 66th, who pulled away for a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Gauff, now 17 and seeded 21st.

The match to determine the next foe for Stephens — threetime Slam champ Angelique Kerber vs. Anhelina Kalinina — also was supposed to be played in Armstrong but was postponed until Thursday.

The conditions didn’t matter at all to defending champion Naomi Osaka, who advanced in the morning when her secondroun­d opponent, Olga Danilovic, pulled out of the tournament because of what she said was a viral illness — but not COVID-19.

Other past major title winners Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka moved on more convention­ally with straight-set wins.

Osaka hasn’t been beaten in a Grand Slam match since losing to Gauff at the 2020 Australian Open.

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