Published: Tue, August 29, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

US Open 2017: Naomi Osaka arrives with win over Angelique Kerber

US Open 2017: Naomi Osaka arrives with win over Angelique Kerber

When the 2017 U.S. Open draw came out on Friday, defending champion Angelique Kerber's first round match was highlighted and circled on a lot of draw sheets.

The German left the 2016 US Open holding the not only the title, but the No. 1 ranking.

The last time a defending champion lost in the opening round was 12 years ago, when Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Ekaterina Bychkova but this result was no real surprise given the German's dramatic loss of form.

But perhaps it wasn't so surprising after Kerber played so poorly following her breakthrough 2016, when she also won the Australian Open and lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. This comes months after making history in a bad way at the French Open, where another tough matchup (Ekaterina Makarova) led to Kerber becoming the first women's top seed to lose her opener in Paris.

Under the roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium on a rainy day at Flushing Meadows, 19-year-old Osaka out-played the two-time Grand Slam finalist, winning 6-3, 6-1 in just over an hour to advance to the second round. In addition, she is now assured of dropping out of the top 10.

After the match, Osaka gave an understated fist-bump and a wide smile as she walked to the net. It's the first win ever over a top ten player for the Japanese player, who entered the tournament ranked 45th in the world. Between world No. 2 Simona Halep falling to Maria Sharapova and Top 10 phenom Johanna Konta being upset by Aleksandra Krunic, the first round alone has been special.

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