Defending champion Angelique Kerber was knocked out in round one of the US Open by Haitian-Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka.
Under the roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium 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. The victory marked Osaka’s first top 10 win of her career.
Did you see that one coming?! pic.twitter.com/dtCQifGR3L
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 29, 2017
It continues a disappointing year for 29-year-old Kerber, who has not won a title since her victory in New York 12 months ago.
“I’m still the same player and the same person,” she said. “I know that I’m strong and I know that I will come back stronger, for sure. “I know that I will not be giving up like this. So for me, I will try to forget the match as soon as possible and look forward again.”
Osaka might be a new name to those who tune in for the second weeks of Grand Slams even though she’s made the third round in all four major tournaments but the 19-year-old has been a rising force for more than two years on the WTA circuit.
Here’s a few things you need to know about her.
After retiring with an abdominal injury in Toronto earlier this month, World No. 45 Osaka hoped to be healthy for the final major of 2017.
A year ago at the U.S. Open, Osaka led Madison Keys in a third round match on Arthur Ashe but was unable to close. On Tuesday, Osaka simply out-hit Kerber, blasting winners all over the court and putting any memories of last year’s disappointing U.S. Open exit behind her.
Osaka finished with 22 winners and 17 unforced errors to Kerber’s nine winners and 23 unforced errors.
She’s Japanese, Haitian and American
Osaka’s mother is Japanese, and her father is Haitian. She was born in Osaka, Japan, but raised in America New York and Fort Lauderdale are home. As a result, she has dual citizenship and chose to represent Japan. Her older sister, Mari Osaka, also plays professionally, though she hasn’t reached the same heights.
USA TODAY Sports’ Nick McCarvel spoke with Osaka about her background last year:
Osaka, who was born in Japan but raised in the United States, speaks barely any Japanese. And she could be the next great superstar in Japanese tennis.
“I can understand way more Japanese than I can speak,” Osaka tells USA TODAY Sports in an interview. “And when I go to Japan people are confused. From my name, they don’t expect to see a black girl.” … – Source
When she began to develop into a top-rate tennis player a few years ago, her father, Leonard Francois, chose the Japanese Tennis Association over the United States Tennis Association because of Naomi’s dual passport. She’s played under the Japanese flag ever since. – Source 1
Osaka has never won an professional tournament, but she made waves with a couple finals spots on the lower tours in 2015. In 2016, she started beating the big shots. She made the third rounds of the Australian and French Opens in her first two appearances in the main draws of Grand Slams.
Her biggest milestone was reaching the final of Tokyo’s Toray Pan Pacific Open in September 2016, losing to Caroline Wozniacki after beating Dominka Cibulkova, Elina Svitolina and more.
Osaka recorded a 125 mph serve at the 2016 U.S. Open, a speed that only eight women ever have topped.- Source 1