Defending champion Kerber knocked out in US Open first round

30 August, 2017, 01:49 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • Garbine Muguruza of Spain against Varvara Lepchenko of the US during the US Open

Osaka, who grew up in NY, broke for 5-3 and sealed the opening set with a sizzling victor down the line under the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Osaka had 22 winners, 17 unforced errors and saved all four break points.

The 36-year-old Federer, whose capture of the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 2017 has taken his Slam count up to 19, is bidding for a record sixth crown in NY.

"I played good today, so I just hope to carry that on to my next match", Osaka said.

It would, of course, always be a challenge to replicate a breakthrough year like 2016, during which the German won her first two Majors and reached the final of a third, but this year, she arrived in NY without any title to her name, and only one final run in Monterrey.

The Czech outclassed her 72nd-ranked opponent after the roof on Arthur Ashe was closed just before the second set. In the second, Osaka broke Kerber twice on her way to her first Top 10 win in 10 chances.

And arguably, it all started here for the 25-year-old in a final finish that took in wins over both Williams sisters. She also exited the French Open at the first hurdle and has not made a slam quarterfinal in 2017. She also struck, by her standards, a modest eight aces, and that meant that her new #AceQueen charity initiative for a Prague hospital was $1,600 better off by the end of the match.

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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.

It continues a disappointing year for 29-year-old Kerber, who has not won a title since her victory in NY 12 months ago.

Earlier on, world No. 1 and last year's beaten finalist Karolina Pliskova made a winning start to her first Grand Slam as the top seed. She broke for 5-3 in the opening set and never looked back to claim her first victory against a top-10 player.

"I felt a little bit nervous walking on this court, especially after past 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.

Federer defeated the world number 70 in straight sets in Miami this year but Tiafoe, the son of a Sierra Leone immigrant, illustrated his growing reputation by seeing off world number six Alexander Zverev in Cincinnati.

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

"I was so nervous on the last point".

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