Naomi Osaka survived her second straight three-set match at the French Open on Thursday, topping former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a match that lasted two hours and 50 minutes.
Osaka, the current world No. 1 player and top seed at Roland Garros, next will face Czech Katerina Siniakova, who survived a grueling three-set match of her own. She defeated Maria Sakkari of Finland 7-6 (5), 6 (8)-7, 6-3 on Thursday.
Osaka, winner of the past two grand slam tournaments, had to rally from a set and a break down to top the Belarusian, two days after a challenge from 90th-ranked Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.
“I actually played well today,” Osaka told reporters. “Against Vika, she has the ability to hit winners. I don’t think the other girl (Schmiedlova) hit that many winners.
“I was more making the mistakes.”
Azarenka, now ranked No. 43 in the world, was trying to break her eight-match losing streak against top-10 opponents at grand slams.
Halep survives 3-set test
In other action, third-seeded Simona Halep of Romania also needed three sets to defeat Magda Linette of Poland 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, while 10th-seeded Serena Williams won 85 percent of the points on her first serve in topping Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 6-2. Eighth-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia topped Danielle Collins 7-5, 6-1.
A quintet of lower-seeded players fell to unseeded players on Thursday, starting with 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who was upset by American Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-2.
Iga Swiatek of Poland topped 16th seed Wang Qiang of China 6-3, 6-0. Monica Puig of Puerto Rico ousted 21st seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia while another Russian, Anna Blinkova, beat Caroline Garcia of France 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Andrea Petkovic of German defeated Su-Wei Hsieh of China, the 25th seed, in a 4-6, 6-3, 8-6 marathon.
Madison Keys, the 14th seed, was on the court when play was suspended for the day. She was tied at one set apiece with Australia Priscilla Hon.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)