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Osaka blasts past Bouzkova in opening match at US Open

Naomi Osaka defeats Marie Bouzkova in straight sets to kick off her US Open title defense on Monday night. Osaka awaits Olga Danilovic in round two on Wednesday.

Naomi Osaka (JPN) reacts during a match against Jil Teichmann (SUI) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Naomi Osaka (JPN) reacts during a match against Jil Teichmann (SUI) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Copyright : AI / Reuters / Panoramic

The first US Open night session with a crowd since 2019 was on display at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday night. Appropriately, defending champion Naomi Osaka headlined the opening night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Osaka certainly did not disappoint the thousands and thousands of fans who made their way through the turnstiles. The 23-year-old from Japan beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-1 after one hour and 34 minutes to begin her bid for a third title in New York. Osaka finished with 34 winners — 24 more than Bouzkova — compared to only 23 unforced errors.

Bouzkova did well to make the match competitive in the early stages, but Osaka took control by winning seven games in a row from 4-4 in the first set to 5-0 in the second.

Osaka “always nervous during the 1st round in a Slam”

“I thought today’s match was really tough,” Osaka assessed. “I guess just to be able to be the first night match and to win in two sets was really important to me.

“(I was) definitely nervous, of course; I’m always nervous during the first round in a slam. But it felt kind of surreal to walk onto the court and to hear an actual audience this time — to see people and to hear their energy, because last year the automated crowd noise was kind of the same all the time. But here, people are reacting in real time, so it was cool.”

The world No.3 will be back in front of the fans on Wednesday, when she goes up against Olga Danilovic.

DAY 1 OVERVIEW AT THE US OPEN (women’s singles)

  • Seeds winning on Monday at the US Open (1st round): Sabalenka (No.2), Osaka (No.3), Svitolina (No.5), Krejcikova (No.8), Muguruza (No.9), Halep (No. 12), Mertens (No.15), Kerber (No.16), Azarenka (No.18), Rybakina (No.19), Jabeur (No.20), Gauff (No.21), Kasatkina (No.25), Collins (No.26), Alexandrova (No.32)
  • Seed losing on Monday at the US Open (1st round): Putintseva (No.31)
  • To follow our full coverage of the 2021 US Open, please visit this page.
  • To follow live results, to see the men’s draw and women’s draw, we recommend you follow the official US Open website.
  • Tomorrow’s program at the US Open is available here (and by the way, today’s schedule is here).
  • All the practical information – how to watch the tournament, how to buy tickets and everything else you could possibly need to know – are hopefully on this page.
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