Naomi Osaka was stretched to three sets as she began the defence of her title at the US Open, while Garbine Muguruza suffered another early defeat in a Grand Slam tournament. Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic and Julia Goerges were the others to advance.
First at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, she needed three sets to overcome 84th-ranked Anna Blinkova, winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 to give her title defence another chance. A knee injury has been blamed for her recent form issues but it was her unforced errors that caused Osaka a lot of problems.
She finished with 50 of them in the entire match, two times more than what Blinkova did in the encounter. Osaka had a chance to serve it out in the second set too, had a match-point on serve but missed it and then lost the tie-breaker before she came back to win the third.
The world number one will now take on Magda Linette in the second round after the Polish player defeated Astra Sharma of Australia in straight sets.
Muguruza’s form has fallen off so badly in recent times that it no longer sounds like a shock result when she loses a first round in any competition. It’s already happened at Wimbledon earlier this year, and it was followed by another defeat at the Cincinnati Open opener. And now it’s happened again in Flushing Meadows.
Alison Riske dumped out the two-time Grand Slam winner Muguruza in three sets, winning 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 to progress to round two of the competition. She will now take on former French Open winner but unseeded Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday.
Ostapenko was a 6-3, 7-6 winner over Aleksandra Krunić in their opening round match played on Tuesday.
Sixth seeded Kvitova did not waste too much time getting past Denisa Allertova, a fellow Czech player and a qualifier. Kvitova cemented her second round berth with a 6-2, 6-4 win over her opponent and will take on Andrea Petkovic next.
Petkovic was also a straight-set winner over Mihaela Buzarnescu in her opening round encounter.
The 13th seeded Bencic defeated Mandy Minella 6-3, 6-2 and will now take on Alize Cornet of France in the second round. Cornet dropped the same number of games as Bencic in her rout of Jessica Pegula in round one.
26th seeded Goerges needed to overcome the loss of the first set before putting it across Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva, finally triumphing 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 in a gruelling encounter. She will play American wildcard entrant Francesca di Lorenzo in her next match.
In a men’s singles match Australia’s Alexei Popyrin had it quite easy Federico Delbonis, winning in straight sets to enter the second round. Popyrin will now play Mikhail Kukushkin which went into the final set before he overcame the more favoured Roberto Bautista Agut in another opener.