US Open: Former champions Raducanu, Osaka, V. Williams exit in first round

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Defending champion Emma Raducanu and two-time US Open winners Naomi Osaka and Venus Williams all lost in Tuesday’s first-round action. The reality is that the early losses of these players were not unexpected.

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu lost to Alize Cornet 6-3 6-3

Last year at the US Open, Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier, male or female, to win a major title in the Open Era. Since then, her career was mostly defined by a lot of hype and sponsorship deals, but her tennis results rarely lived up to the expectations as the Grand Slam title remains her only career title. Even her lead-up to the 2022 US Open was not without problems, as the young player was in discomfort and pain during her scheduled training session at Flushing Meadows.

Drawing Alize Cornet in the first round certainly didn’t help. The Frenchwoman is appearing in her 63rd consecutive Grand Slam main draw, the longest run in Open Era history.

Raducanu, who even cracked the Top 10 in July, was defending 2,040 ranking points (of 2,756) in New York. Now the teenager will fall to outside the Top 75. Moreover, she’ll be the second-ranked WTA player from Great Britain if Harriet Dart wins her second-round match against Dalma Galfi.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka lost to Danielle Collins 7-6(5) 6-3

For the first time in their four career meetings Danielle Collins managed to beat Naomi Osaka, even though the two-time US Open champion lead 3-0 in the first set and was up a break in second set. “When you lose to someone three times you get a lot of information on what you can do better,” the 2022 Australian Open finalist Collins said after the match.

The world No.19 Collins had not played since the Ladies Open Lausanne in July. The American withdrew from San Jose, Toronto and Cincinnati due to a neck injury, but now she feels heathy and fit.

Venus Williams

Venus Williams lost to Alison van Uytvanck 6-1 7-6(5)

Venus Williams’ career is in its late stage, although the American has made no comments about retirement, so this first-round loss is not a surprise. The 42-year-old was making her Open Era record 91st Grand Slam main draw appearance. When she made her Grand Slam debut at 1997 Roland Garros as a 16 year old, 58 of the women in this year’s US Open main draw were not born.

When a reporter wanted to know whether retirement has been on Williams’ mind, she only mentioned her participation in the women’s doubles with sister Serena: “Right now, I’m just focused on the doubles.”

Alison van Uytvanck entered Tuesday’s match with a 1-8 record in first-round matches at the US Open. By contrast, Williams used to be 21-1 in the opening round at Flushing Meadows, her first loss coming in 2020.

The 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens is the only US Open titlist who progressed on Tuesday, but it was after a major scare against Greet Minnen.

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