Kvitova, Kerber advance to third round at US Open

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New York (AFP)

Petra Kvitova advanced to the third round of the US Open on Wednesday, defeating Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.

Czech sixth seed Kvitova, chasing a third Grand Slam crown after wins at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, needed 1hr 40min to claim her place in the last 32.

The 30-year-old, who has never been past the quarter-finals at the US Open, will face either Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens or Jessica Pegula in the third round on Friday.

Kvitova was one of several seeds to advance safely in early games Wednesday as the draw once again went largely to form.

Croatia's Petra Martic, seeded eight, defeated lowly ranked Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4.

Martic, who reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year in what remains her best US Open appearance, will face Russia's Varvara Gracheva in the third round.

Gracheva, ranked 102nd in the world, scored a rare upset on Wednesday, eliminating France's 30th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0.

Another seed to tumble early Wednesday was the Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova. The out-of-sorts 12th seed was beaten 6-1, 6-2 in little more than an hour by Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Germany's Angelique Kerber, the 2016 US Open champion, booked her place in the third round with a straight sets win over compatriot Anna-Lena Friedsam.

The 17th seed progressed with a 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) victory in 1hr 40min, and will now face either 13th seed Alison Riske or Ann Li, who meet in an all-US second round clash later Wednesday.

This year's women's draw in New York is more open than ever following a slew of withdrawals by top players due to the coronavirus pandemic.

World number one Ashleigh Barty, second-ranked Simona Halep and defending champion Bianca Andreescu all elected to skip the tournament.