Angelique Kerber : Beaten player admits 'it's tough at the top'

Defending champion Kerber destroyed in US Open first round by teenager Osaka

Defending champion Kerber destroyed in US Open first round by teenager Osaka

Osaka, who was raised in NY and Fort Lauderdale but represents Japan, entered this year's US Open as the No. 45 ranked women's player in the world.

Roger Federer was pushed to five sets in the opening round of the U.S. Open for the first time in 17 years before the Swiss third seed overcame American Frances Tiafoe 4-6 6-2 6-1 1-6 6-4, while Japanese teen Naomi Osaka stunned women's champion Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1 on a rain-hit Tuesday.

Perhaps the subdued reaction of Osaka, No. 45 in the world, was due to the memories she had from the last time she played at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the third round of last year's US Open, when she lost to No. 8 seed Keys.

She didn't advance past the fourth round in any of the four grand slam tournaments, including first-round exits at the French Open and now the U.S. Open. In 2016, Kerber broke through to the top of tennis in a spectacular way. Her movement and strokeplay, however, still lacks finesse, but at 19, the gaps are sure to be filled with experience and training. "She played a very good match from the beginning". Obviously before every first-round match I'm a little bit nervous, but especially at a grand slam and especially to defend so many points here from the final past year.

"It was not my day, completely not my day today", the German said. "I feel like I know that I can play with the top players now, so I don't have to be as nervous as I was today".

The Czech was beaten by Kerber in the 2016 final, but the German's title defence came to an early end as she was crushed by Naomi Osaka. "It was quite tough when she first came on tour because she was shy and she was reluctant to speak Japanese".

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The 19-year-old from Japan rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over the sixth-seeded Kerber at Arthur Ashe Stadium. However, one notable result that she has to defend between now and the end of the year is her runner-up finish at last year's Singapore event. "You have always the goal for years to go out there and to reach the top, but then if you are there, you actually don't know what to expect, and then it's just the process".

"She's really matured a lot and she has a better balance of playing the right shot at the right time", he said. I didn't know that.

"I just really want to play good here", Osaka said in a post-match television interview. Her ground strokes, save for a few flashes of brilliance, lacked the depth to exploit Osaka's inexperience.

Rain caused 55 of the 64 scheduled matches to be suspended or postponed.

"Well, I lived in Long Island", the teenager said, pausing to reminisce on her and her sister's childhood.

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