US Open: Nadal gets walkover; Halep crashes out

On cloud nine
Taylor Townsend is pumped up after beating Simona Halep. Reuters

New York: Three-time champion Rafael Nadal advanced into the third round of the ongoing US Open without hitting a ball in the second round while former women's world No. 1 Simona Halep crashed out, suffering a shock defeat at the hands of American qualifier Taylor Townsend.

Nadal's advance came after his scheduled second-round opponent Thanasi Kokkinakis was unable to play due to injury. According to tournament organisers, the Australian wildcard entry Kokkinakis pulled out of the Thursday evening tie with a right shoulder problem.

Second seed Nadal will next face either 32nd-seeded fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco or South Korea's Chung Hyeon on Saturday.

In other men's singles clash, Australia's Nick Kyrgios defeated France's Antoine Hoang 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the third round.

Kyrgios now faces Russia's 43rd-ranked Andrey Rublev for a spot in the last 16.

Meanwhile, in women's singles, former world No. 1 Halep was shocked by 23-year-old  Townsend at the Flushing Meadows as the Romanian was defeated 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (4).

"I never played with someone coming so often to the net," Halep said. "I didn't miss much. It's unbelievable."

Gauff to meet Osaka

Fifteen-year-old wildcard Coco Gauff edged past Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos to set up a third-round meeting with defending champion Naomi Osaka .

On Thursday night, Gauff earned a hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Babos in a match that lasted two hours and 21 minutes to become the youngest woman to reach the last 32 at Flushing Meadows since Anna Kournikova's run to the round of 16 in 1996.

Pulling her weight
Fifteen-year-old wildcard Coco Gauff edged past Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos. Reuters

"We were both just testing each other," Gauff said on court after the match, crediting her opponent. "I think if I didn't win that last point, then maybe she would have won. It was that kind of match."

She will now take on World No.1 Osaka in what is anticipated to be a highly intriguing meeting on Saturday. It will be Gauff's second match against a Top 10 player -- her Wimbledon run was ended by eventual champion Halep, who was ranked No.7 at the time.

The American now holds a career 5-1 record in major main draws - her perfect 2-0 US Open record adding to her 3-1 mark at Wimbledon in July.

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