WHAT HAPPENED: In a stunning upset, Japan’s Naomi Osaka ousted 2016 defending US Open champion Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 6-1.
In their first meeting, Osaka came to the court locked and loaded with an arsenal of weapons, including her concise backhand, collected poker face and elevated game.
Kerber, on the other hand, fell short in many aspects of her game. She had three double faults in the first set and repeatedly fed Osaka points with unforced errors into the net.
After breezing through a convincng first set, Osaka continued to excel in the second, with 22 winners shadowing Kerber’s nine. The 19-year-old’s game was in top form; a big-hitting baseliner, she even won 86 percent of her net points.
Kerber, meantime, became visibly unraveled, smacking her racquet and angrily speaking to herself between points.
Meanwhile, Osaka continued to play her game. For someone so young, she remained composed, especially through the final game, where she finally claimed victory after going to deuce twice.
Osaka’s two set win on Tuesday is a stark difference to her last match in Arthur Ashe Stadium. A year ago, Osaka blew a 5-1, third-set lead in a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 defeat to American Madison Keys.
“This court hasn’t really been a great memory, I hope to lap them,” said Osaka, post Kerber-win.
WHAT IT MEANS: This latest win for Osaka is just one in a continuing ascent. Last year, she reached a career-best ranking of No. 40 and was voted the 2016 WTA Newcomer of the year. In 2017, she made it to the Round 3 at Indian Wells and Wimbledon.
Moreover, the women’s draw is now wide open. With the defending champion out of the tournament, as well as former world No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 2 seed Simona Halep, the 2017 US Open is anyone's game.
MATCH POINT: Osaka, unseeded, knocked out No. 6 seed and top ten player Kerber in only her second US Open main draw showing. What else is in store for her this fortnight?