Nadal, Osaka shine as rain causes US Open havoc

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

Angelique Kerber, who at the time vaulted to No. 1 in the world after winning the US Open last year, was knocked out Tuesday afternoon after just one round, losing to 19-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan in straight sets.

Osaka's first win over a top-10 opponent (Kerber is also ranked No. 6 in the world) came a day after second-seeded Simona Halep lost to unseeded Maria Sharapova, a career Grand Slam victor playing her first major since returning from a suspension for a failed drug test at the 2016 Australian Open.

She leaves this year after one match - unsure of exactly what went wrong during a season-long slump.

"She's a very aggressive player, but I know this before", said Kerber, who will now drop out of the Top 10. In Wimbledon I got a sunburn. But, I mean, I'm always trying my best and also my team is trying the best, and I think this was also during the whole year I always had some small things that, yeah, giving me not the opportunity to playing my best. "I was so nervous on the last point. I'm really happy that I could have a chance to play on a big court". The 29-year-old German recently welcomed back a former coach, Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh, for the U.S. Open, although clearly it did not produce the desired results.

In the process, Osaka earned redemption and vindication while Kerber bottomed out, ending an already dismal (for her) Grand Slam season as the first defending US Open champion to tumble out in her first match in 12 years. She was the first new No. 1 player the WTA had in three years at the time, and just the second German woman to hold the top ranking, after Steffi Graf. Obviously before every first-round match, I'm a little bit nervous, but especially on Grand Slam and especially to defend so many points here from the final past year. She fought her way to the top of the mountain - but staying there is tough to do.


Meanwhile, top-seeded Karolina Pliskova faced little resistance in her opening-round match.

Showers showed up before noon on Tuesday and led to the postponements of dozens of matches. "She played more fearless tennis". "I played good today and so I hope to carry that on to my next match". Tuesday's triumph over Kerber is her most high-profile victory as she continues to climb up the world rankings.

For Osaka, who let a 5-1 third set lead against Madison Keys slip a year ago on this very same court, the win is very important.

"He talks to me a lot about positivity because I tend to be really negative on myself and to the point where I don't really know what I'm doing anymore", Osaka said of Taylor. Osaka, just 19, could sympathize based on her own experience. Growing up at Long Island in NY, she said the stadium was not new to her.

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