Naomi Osaka knocks out defending champion Angelique Kerber in first round of US Open

Naomi Osaka beat the German in straight sets to book her place in the second round

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
29th August 2017

article:29th August 2017

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka

Defending champion Angelique Kerber’s woeful season continued with a first-round loss to 19-year-old Naomi Osaka at the US Open.

The German’s 6-3 6-1 defeat makes her only the second defending women’s champion to lose her first match after Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005.

Kerber rose to the top of rankings after winning in both Australia and New York last season but has not claimed a title since nor made a grand slam quarter-final.

Fourth-round appearances at the Australian Open and Wimbledon sandwiched an opening-round defeat at the French Open and her misery was complete here.

It was a very tough draw for Kerber against a player regarded as one of the future stars of the women’s game, and Osaka rose to the challenge under the roof on Arthur Ashe.

The Japanese-American is a fearless ball-striker and Kerber had no answer, netting a final forehand to succumb meekly after just 65 minutes.

Kerber, who despite her poor form held the number one spot until Wimbledon, will now fall outside the top 10.

There was better news for world number one Karolina Pliskova, who has headed in the opposite direction to Kerber after losing to the German in the final here last year.

The Czech defeated Poland’s Magda Linette 6-2 6-1, while players on the outside courts were made to wait by wet weather at Flushing Meadows.

Like Muguruza, fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki is one of eight women who could end the tournament ranked world number one.

The Dane moved safely through to round two with a 6-1 7-5 victory over Romanian qualifier Mihaela Buzarnescu.



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