It was a night to forget for two of the biggest names in tennis as Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu crashed out of the first round of the US Open on Tuesday.
On a rainy night in New York, Osaka was defeated by American Danielle Collins in straight sets, 7-6(5) 6-3, while defending champion Emma Raducanu fell to Alizé Cornet.
Raducanu, 19, stunned the world by winning his first grand slam at Flushing Meadows last year but has struggled to find similar form since then.
The experience and intensity of the experienced Cornet was too much for her as she was defeated in straight sets – 6-3 6-3.
“This one obviously hurts a little bit because it’s my favorite tournament and there’s a lot of emotion over the last year,” he told reporters after the loss.
“I’m proud to show up to every game, every day, knowing I’m striving to be the best I can be.”
Raducanu will drop down the rankings after a frustrating year that has been plagued by injuries and changes in his coaching staff.
The youngster has struggled to come to terms with life throughout the WTA Tour but showed flashes of quality that secured her first Grand Slam title just 12 months ago.
Cornet was simply in better form and is now no stranger to big results at slams, having previously beaten Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon.
The Frenchwoman now holds the Open era record for most consecutive Grand Slam appearances, having appeared in the previous 63.
“I think I’m handling my emotions better,” Cornet told reporters after the game. “I guess I’m getting old, more mature. It shows in my results. I’m 32, better late than never.”
Osaka suffered a similar experience to that of Raducanu but this time at the hands of the talented Collins.
The world doesn’t. The 19-year-old had not even won a set against Osaka in their previous three meetings, but this time she outlasted the four-time Grand Slam champion.
“When you lose to somebody three times, you get a lot of information about what you can do better,” Collins told reporters.
“With Naomi being the player she is, she definitely called me last time. I just had to learn from it and make adjustments and I think I did.”
Osaka, a two-time US Open champion, was unseeded at this year’s event and is currently ranked 44th in the world.
Struggling with momentum and form, she was probably an underdog going into the first round, but put in an impressive performance despite the loss.
Collins will now play Spain’s Cristina Bucșa in the next round, while Cornet will face Katerina Siniaková.