MIAMI, March 24: The new site for the Miami Open suddenly is missing a lot of star power.
Serena Williams withdrew, blaming a previously undisclosed left knee injury. Less than two hours later, top-ranked Naomi Osaka lost in the third round to tour veteran Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Osaka�s departure matched the earliest ever in the tournament by a top-seeded woman and jeopardised her No. 1 ranking, depending on results next week. �I feel like I�ve dealt with the stress of people asking me do I have pressure because I have the No. 1 next to my name,� Osaka said. �I thought I was doing fine with that, but I guess I�m not.�
Roger Federer briefly seemed headed for the exit but instead advanced to the third round by rallying past qualifier Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
�Radu put me through the ringer,� Federer said.
No. 2-seeded Alexander Zverev double-faulted 12 times and lost to wild card David Ferrer, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Williams� withdrawal was unexpected because she showed no signs of injury a day earlier while winning her opening match against Rebecca Peterson, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
Williams didn�t mention any health issues during a news conference after the match, and the WTA had no information regarding when she was hurt.
Williams� victory on Friday was her first at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins� home and the Miami Open�s new centre court. The tournament moved this year from Key Biscayne, where Williams won eight titles.
�I am disappointed to withdraw,� she said in a statement. �It was an amazing experience to play at Hard Rock Stadium this year, and I would like to thank the Miami Open for putting on an amazing event. I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-kind tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.�
Federer, a three-time champion, lost serve only once � in the first game � but was on the ropes until he swept the final three games, to the relief of an enthusiastic stadium crowd.
�It was a great atmosphere,� Federer said. �It was electric. I think that�s why I played so well at the end.�
While attendance in the stadium continued to be spotty, outer courts were jammed, and the day session drew a tournament record 32,831 spectators.
Seeded losers on the men�s side included No. 10 Karen Khachanov, No. 21 Diego Schwartzman, No. 26 Guido Pella, No. 30 Stan Wawrinka and No. 31 Steve Johnson. In a game of inches, the 5-foot-6 Schwartzman lost to 6-foot-11 Reilly Opelka 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Williams was next scheduled to play No. 18-seeded Qiang Wang, who advanced to the fourth round.
Also reaching the women�s round of 16 was the 33-year-old Hsieh, who turned pro in 2001 but has achieved the two biggest victories of her career in the past nine months. Her only other win over a No. 1 player came against Simona Halep at Wimbledon last year. � AP