NEW YORK, Sept 1: Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the third round of a major for the 33rd successive time without hitting a ball when his scheduled opponent pulled out with an injury.
World number one Djokovic was handed a walkover when Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic withdrew from their second round encounter suffering an inflammation of the left forearm.
Vesely�s misfortune was a welcome boost for top seed Djokovic who had required treatment on his upper right arm in his laboured first round win over Jerzy Janowicz on Monday.
Left-hander Vesely had defeated the Serb at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
Djokovic will face either Guido Pella of Argentina or Mikhail Youzhny of Russia on Friday for a place in the last 16.
�I�m very, very disappointed right now,� said 23-year-old Vesely who was also forced to pull out of his quarterfinal in Winston-Salem last week with the same injury.
�I was looking forward to playing Novak, I would have nothing to lose. It�s a lot of fun, a lot of excitement. I wish I could play.�
Roberta Vinci, the 2015 runner-up, and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova both also booked third round spots on Wednesday.
Seventh seeded Italian Vinci, defeated by compatriot Flavia Pennetta in last year�s final, eased past Christina McHale of the United States 6-1, 6-3.
The 33-year-old, playing at Flushing Meadows for the 14th time, goes on to face either Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan or Germany�s Carina Witthoeft.
�It�s nice of course to come back but you have a lot of pressure,� said Vinci who was ranked 43 in the world this time last year.
�Now I�m seven in the world � a lot of points to defend. But probably the key is don�t think about this.�
Kvitova, the 14th seeded Czech who recorded her best performance in New York 12 months ago when she made the last-eight, beat Turkey�s Cagla Buyukakcay 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
Kvitova was in her trademark all-or-nothing mood, mixing up 31 winners with 30 unforced errors against her 26-year-old opponent, the first Turkish woman to play in the main draw at the tournament.
�If I make the second week, I�ll be happy,� said Kvitova, keen to dampen down expectations.
Up next for Kvitova is Ukrainian 22nd seed Elina Svitolina who put out Lauren Davis of the United States 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
Early winners in the men�s event were South Africa�s Kevin Anderson who saw off Canada�s Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-4.
Anderson reached the quarterfinals last year, beating 2012 champion Andy Murray on the way, but has been plagued by knee, shoulder and ankle injuries in 2016 which forced him to skip eight events.
Britain�s Kyle Edmund backed up his first round win over world number 15 Richard Gasquet with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 victory over US wildcard Ernesto Escobedo.
Rafael Nadal advanced to the third round after a straight set win over Andreas Seppi. The fourth seed beat Seppi 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 to advance. In a dominating display, Nadal didn�t look uncomfortable at all and had no bandage on the wrist.
He was also part of a small history on Day 3 as the US Open�s new $150 million retractable roof atop Arthur Ashe Stadium has been closed for the first time during a match. The cover was shut because of rain that fell at 3-3 in the second set of Rafael Nadal�s second-round match. It took about 5 minutes to close and play resumed. After dealing with rain delays and postponed finals for years, the US Tennis Association finally built a movable roof over its main stadium.
World number three Garbine Muguruza crashed out after being stunned in round two by Latvia�s Anastasija Sevastova.
Muguruza won three games in a row to threaten a comeback in the second set but Sevastova finally converted her fourth match point to win 7-5, 6-4.
Sevastova temporarily gave up tennis in 2013 due to illness and injury but she has now reached her first grand slam third round, where she will meet Kateryna Bondarenko.
Second seed Angelique Kerber stayed on track in her quest to unseat Serena Williams as world number one by beating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-2, 7-6(7) to reach the third round.
Australian Open winner Kerber rifled home an ace to finish the first set against the free swinging, 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni, then won a see-saw second set in which each player was broken three times on the way to a tiebreaker.
The Croat held two set points during the decider, and three overall, before losing it 9-7. � Agencies