Osaka Begins US Open Title Defence With Battling Win

NEW YORK, August 27, 2019

Naomi Osaka made a winning return to the Arthur Ashe Stadium winning her first-round match on Tuesday against unseeded Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 to kick off her US Open title defense.

The top seed from Japan, who sustained a left knee injury during the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month, raised her game in the deciding set and broke Blinkova twice in the third set to reach the second round after two hours and 28 minutes.

“I have a lot of really good memories here because I grew up in this area. I don’t think I’ve ever been this nervous in my life,” said Osaka.

“I came off really slow and never really found my rhythm. I fought as hard as I could and managed to win.”

The 21-year-old will next face Poland’s Magda Linette after she defeated Australian Astra Sharma.

In the meantime, former World No. 1 Garbine Muguruza of Spain was beaten 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 by US-American Alison Riske, who had not won at Flushing Meadows since 2013. Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza was also knocked out in the opening round at Wimbledon and last won a singles match at Roland Garros, where she made it into the fourth round. Today’s encounter lasted two hours and three minutes.