Defending Champion, Kerber crashes out of US Open

Taylor Byrd
August 30, 2017

"I just really want to play good here", said the World No. 45 Osaka after the match.

Pliskova continued on her quick pace, with the match only being slowed when the players were forced to break so the retractable roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium could be closed as a light rain fell. "She played a very good match from the beginning".

Kerber becomes the first defending U.S. Open champion to lose in the first round the following year since Svetlana Kuznetsova was knocked off in round one in 2005.

Kerber said: "It was not my day, completely not my day today".

Osaka, who led Madison Keys 5-1 in the final set in round three of last year's US Open before losing, said: "It means a lot, especially since last time I was here".

Kerber reclaimed it and lost it several times but there were serious concerns over her form going into the US Open and Osaka was merciless in exposing the her weaknesses. But even her biggest admirers may not have expected such a decisive victory, 6-2, 6-1-all done and dusted in an hour and 19 minutes, just as the rain began to disrupt the other matches around Flushing.

Kerber will likely drop towards the bottom end of the top-20 in the WTA rankings, which is a real fall from grace given her status as the top player in the world earlier in the year.

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. Osaka advanced to a second-round match against either Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic or Rebecca Peterson of Sweden.

Czech 25-year-old Pliskova, the runner-up to Angelique Kerber in 2016, eased past Poland's Magda Linette 6-2, 6-1 on the back of eight aces and 29 winners.

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.

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

The Ashe programme Tuesday was being completed by USA 15th seed Madison Keys facing Elie Mertens of Belgium.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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