Osaka upsets defending US Open champ Kerber

Osaka upsets defending US Open champ Kerber

It was a match that touched the heights of exhilaration, but also the pits of pathos.

The German's 6-3 6-1 defeat to teenager Naomi Osaka made her only the second defending women's champion to lose her first match after Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005.

The title she won at NY past year even propelled her to the world number 1 ranking - making her the first German since Steffi Graf to reach the summit. Osaka, just 19, could sympathize based on her own experience. With this upset, Osaka managed to banish the memories of squandering a 5-1 lead in the final set of her match against Madison Keys at the Arthur Ashe.

Osaka, 19, hit 22 winners in her comfortable victory, while sixth seed Kerber's 23 unforced errors proved costly.

She's already considered the next big star for Japanese tennis, and she's steadily making her way to the top with her results. Kerber, a 29-year-old, hasn't won any title of any sort this season.

World number one Karolina Pliskova, bidding to back up her lofty status with a maiden first Grand Slam title, was able to make a winning start, courtesy also of playing under the roof on Ashe.

In its second year of existence, the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium allowed for at least a few matches to be completed on Tuesday at the U.S. Open as rain pelted the other courts.

Defeat the defending champion in the opening round of a Grand Slam, and you're allowed a moment. "I was practicing good", she added. This is for sure something. I know that I will not giving up like this.

Kerber said she arrived at Flushing Meadows in a confident mood despite an underwhelming year. So far this year, she has 37.

Her coach is helping her think more positively, she said, because she has a nasty tendency to think too negatively about herself. The increased attention and demands, as well as the opportunity to cash in like someone who just won the lottery, are all golden distractions. "When an aggressive player has a clear understanding of when to hit the right shot, they're very risky against anyone".

Just a bad day or a bad year?

It was, literally, a dream come true.

"It was not my day, completely not my day today", Kerber said. "But at the end, you know, I'm always trying the best with all the things I have". Growing up at Long Island in NY, she said the stadium was not new to her. "But I tried not to think how good she was while I was playing her".

"I was really happy because I grew up watching the greatest players play on that court, so to win a match on it felt really special", Osaka said. She was well-prepared for the task mentally but admitted to feeling shaky as the end drew near. "That's the big difference between now and this time previous year". "I got the break back and after that, everything changed". I didn't want to play a long point.

In 2017, Kerber made only the last 16 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with a first-round exit at the French Open sandwiched in between.