Osaka knocks defending champion Kerber out of US Open

30 August, 2017, 01:50 | Author: Nora May
  • Angelique Kerber of Germany returns a shot from Naomi Osaka of Japan during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday Aug. 29 2017 in New York

Kerber and Osaka had the stage to themselves after play was suspended on all courts other than Arthur Ashe Stadium, which has a retractable roof.

"I know that I'm strong and I know that I will come back stronger, for sure".

Osaka, who surrendered a 5-1 final-set lead on the same court in losing to Madison Keys in the third round 12 months ago, fired 22 winners as Kerber went tumbling out of the world's top 10 as well as the tournament. She won both the Australian Open and the US Open in 2016, but has failed to make it back to the quarterfinals at any of the four Grand Slam events in 2017.

"The site", Osaka said, "feels really familiar to me".

The world No. 6 has struggled to recapture her fine form of past year, where she lifted two Grand Slam titles, and has failed to reach the quarter-finals of any major this season but this was as brutal an exit as you're likely to ever see.

With second seed Simona Halep's loss to Maria Sharapova on Monday night´and seventh-seeded Johanna Konta also falling, three of the top-seven seeds on the women's side were gone by midday Tuesday - with Serena Williams not playing because she is pregnant.

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Her build-up to the US Open was then hampered by an elbow injury with a round of 16 run in Toronto followed by an opening defeat against Ekaterina Makarova in Cincinnati. She also exited the French Open at the first hurdle and has not made a slam quarterfinal in 2017.

"I was always believing until the end that I could turn around the match, because I turn around a lot of matches", Kerber told a news conference. It was her first top-10 win, but this very contained young woman was not about to leap for joy-it is not her way.

"I felt a little bit nervous walking on this court, especially after previous year and the memories I have here", said Pliskova, whose progression to the second round was only briefly halted by the roof on Arthur Ashe stadium being closed.

She almost upended Keys in the U.S. Open's third round previous year, leading 5-1 in the third set before losing in a tiebreaker, a collapse on her mind in the latter stages Tuesday.

The world No 46 will face either Sweden's Rebecca Peterson or Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic for a place in the last 32. The 19-year-old Osaka advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over the sixth-seeded Kerber whose 2016 struggles continued.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion in NY, starts against Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen.

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