New York - Rafael Nadal took his US Open first-round record
to 13-0 but Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka stole the headlines by knocking out
defending champion Angelique Kerber as torrential rain caused more than 50
matches to be shelved on Tuesday.
As players ran for cover from drenched outside courts where
just 90 minutes of action was possible, and only three matches completed,
Osaka's big-hitting game flourished under the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The world number 46, born in Japan to a Haitian father and
Japanese mother, won 6-3, 6-1 as sixth seed Kerber became the first US Open
women's defending champion to lose in the first round since Svetlana Kuznetsova
World No 1 Nadal, meanwhile, began his campaign for a third
US Open title with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-2 win over Serbia's Dusan Lajovic.
The 31-year-old Spaniard recovered from 3-5 down in the
opening set against the 85th-ranked Lajovic, who has never won a match in New
"When I was down in the first set, I just tried to be
there as he was playing well and controlling the points," said French Open
champion Nadal, who is chasing a 16th major.
"But the end of the first set was very important. I got
the break back and after that, everything changed."
Osaka, who surrendered a 5-1 final-set lead on the same
court in losing to Madison Keys in the third round 12 months ago, fired 22
winners as Kerber went tumbling out of the world's top 10 as well as the
"At 4-1, I was hoping I don't do what I did last
year," said the 19-year-old Osaka, who admitted suffering a brief
flashback to her tearful loss to Keys.
Osaka will face either Sweden's Rebecca Peterson or Denisa
Allertova of the Czech Republic for a place in the last 32.
"I just want to play good. I did that today and so I
want to carry that into the next match," added the Japanese teenager, who
secured her first career win over a top-10 player.
Kerber is the third top seed to go out in the first round
after No 2 Simona Halep and seventh-seeded Johanna Konta lost on Monday.
"She just went for it," said 29-year-old Kerber.
"For sure, it was not the best day and not the best match for me."
US Open chiefs decided to cancel 44 singles matches and
postpone the completion of 11 others until Wednesday because of the unrelenting
In total, only nine singles matches were due to be completed
out of a scheduled 64.
One man certain to finish under the roof on Tuesday night
was Roger Federer, whose capture of the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in
2017 has taken his Slam count to 19.
Heis bidding for a record sixth crown in New York.
The 36-year-old Swiss, who missed the 2016 US Open to rest a
knee injury, takes on US teenager Frances Tiafoe under the lights, looking to
take his first round record to 17-0.
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 No 6 Alexander Zverev in Cincinnati.
World No 1 Karolina Pliskova, bidding to back up her lofty
status with a maiden first Grand Slam title, was able to make a winning start,
courtesy also of playing under the roof on Ashe.
Czech 25-year-old Pliskova, the runner-up in 2016, eased
past Poland's Magda Linette 6-2, 6-1 on the back of eight aces and 29 winners.
French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko downed Spain's Lara
Arruaberrena 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 in a match relocated from Court 17 to Ashe.
The Latvian won 12 of the last 14 points to seal the deal in
a tie suspended at 3-1 in the final set five hours earlier.
The Ashe programme on Tuesday was being completed by US 15th
seed Madison Keys facing Elie Mertens of Belgium.
Results from day 2 of the US Open on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-2
Roger Federer (SUI x3) bt Francis Tiafoe (USA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x1) bt Magda Linette (POL) 6-2, 6-1
Barbora Strycova (CZE x23) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-1, 6-3
Madison Keys (USA x15) bt Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x12) bt Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-2, 1-6, 6-1
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Lesley Kerkhove (NED) 6-1, 6-3
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) bt Lesya Tsurenko (UKR x28) 6-3, 6-1
Naomi Osaka (JPN) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x6) 6-3, 6-1
Note: Torrential rain meant 55 first round matches remain to be completed on Wednesday