US Open: Defending titlist Naomi Osaka’s triumphant return; Aryna Sabalenka wins

Aryna Sabalenka and Naomi Osaka, the two top seeds who played in the night session on the opening day of the 2021 US Open marched into the second round.

The second-seeded Sabalenka weathered a storm in the second set but rebounded solidly to claim a 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-0 to win against Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic after two hours and 24 minutes of play. Sabalenka looked to be cruising against Stojanovic in the opening set and right up to the 12th game of the second set in which she even had a match point on Stojanovic’s serve. However, the Serbian produced some gutsy play to first save the match point and then, in the tie-break, push back convincingly against her higher-ranked opponent. At the end of her tether after losing the second set, Sabalenka routed her opponent in the final set that was decidedly one-way.

In the second round, Sabalenka will take on Tamara Zidansek. The Slovenian beat American Bernarda Pera 6-4, 7-6(4) in their opening-round match.

Meanwhile, third seed and the defending champion, Osaka pocketed a 6-4, 6-1 win over the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova in an hour and 33 minutes. Bouzkova put Osaka through her paces in the first set but once she had the lead, Osaka made quick work of her opponent to reach the round-of-64. 

US Open: Coco Gauff, Angelique Kerber wear down rivals 

Next up for the Japanese is Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic. Danilovic ousted American wildcard Alycia Parks 6-3, 7-5 in their first-round clash.

Parks’ compatriot and 21st seed, Coco Gauff posted a comeback win in her first-round match against Magda Linette. After two hours and 34 minutes of play, Gauff defeated the Pole 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. She’ll take on fellow American Sloane Stephens who won her first-round earlier in the day.

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina needed just 63 minutes to take her place in the second round. The Ukrainian won 6-2, 6-3 against Canadian Rebecca Marino. In the second round, Svitolina will play Spanish qualifier Rebeka Masarova. Masarova defeated Ana Bogdan 6-7(9), 7-6(2), 7-6(2) in the first round.

Carla Suarez Navarro’s last US Open appearance ended with a first-round loss to Danielle Collins. The American won 6-2, 6-4 against the valiant Spaniard in 68 minutes. In the second round, Collins will take on Kaja Juvan. Juvan won against Heather Watson 6-1, 6-4.

Former US Open champion and 16th seed Angelique Kerber also took her place in the second round. The German came from a set down to defeat Dayana Yastremska 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) in two hours and 25 minutes. She’ll play Anhelina Kalinina for a spot in the round-of-32.

Photo Credit: US Open Twitter