US Open champion Angelique Kerber loses in first round to Naomi Osaka

first_img Since you’re here… Shocks come in so many gradations in tennis these days that even the first-round exit of the defending champion, Angelique Kerber, at the precocious hands of the 19-year-old Japanese Naomi Osaka in 65 minutes on day two was less seismic than the departure of Johanna Konta on day one.The fragile German has tumbled to No6 in the world and arrived in disarray after losing in the second round in Cincinnati. Her confidence looks shot to pieces and Osaka, a talent ranked No45, was relentless in recording the biggest win of her career, 6-3, 6-1, under the new roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Kerber’s second serve let her down badly and she could not get the ball moving from hand at more than 95mph. Osaka was pinging them down at 108mph and struck 22 clean winners. Share via Email Kerber, indeed, was not among the favourites nor even one of the eight players capable of finishing the tournament as world No1. She has had a desperately uneven time of it since last year.By failing to reach the Wimbledon final this summer she had already surrendered her No1 ranking. Karolina Pliskova – who lost to Kerber in last year’s final but is now at the summit of the game – vies with Garbiñe Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion, as favourite here.Pliskova also had the benefit of the roof as steady rain wiped out the rest of the card on uncovered courts. She beat the Pole Magda Linette, 72 in the world, 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 19 minutes. The Czech said: “Before every first-round match I’m a little bit nervous but especially in a grand slam – and especially having to defend so many points from the final last year. My serve could be better but, overall, I think it was solid.”On a wet, dull Tuesday only a handful of matches were completed. Rafael Nadal got his campaign off to a reasonable start, beating the 27-year-old Serb Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2 in two and a quarter hours.The Spaniard, aiming for his third title here, has dipped a little since winning his 10th French Open, blowing up at Wimbledon, going out in the third round in Montreal and inheriting Andy Murray’s No1 ranking by reaching the quarter-finals in Cincinnati, where he lost to Nick Kyrgios.He is looking for his championship tennis but was comfortable enough against Lajovic, ranked 85 in the world. He came desperately close to losing the first set, coming back from 3-5 down and holding his opponent at bay when he was serving for the frame.Among the scheduling casualties on Tuesday was Britain’s Aljaz Bedene, whose match on an outside court against the Russian Andrey Rublev was among the contests postponed until Wednesday.They are second on, while his compatriots Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie play their second-round matches at the tail-end of the day’s programme. Support The Guardian US sports US Open: Nadal through in straight sets, Kerber crashes out – as it happened Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Read more US Open tenniscenter_img news Topics Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Tennis … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Reuse this contentlast_img

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