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Rediff.com  » Sports » US Open: Nadal rolls past Lajovic; Pliskova advances, Osaka shocks defending champ Kerber

US Open: Nadal rolls past Lajovic; Pliskova advances, Osaka shocks defending champ Kerber

Last updated on: August 30, 2017 03:20 IST

Images from Day 2 at the US Open played at Flushing Meadows in New York on Tuesday

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Tuesday

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Tuesday. Photograph: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

World No 1 Rafael Nadal dismissed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2 to ease into the US Open second round on Tuesday, setting the Spaniard on a collision course for a long overdue Flushing Meadows showdown with Roger Federer.

Federer will follow Nadal on to Arthur Ashe Stadium later on Tuesday looking to hold up his end when he takes on American Frances Tiafoe.

 

After a sluggish run-up to the US Open that included a shock round of 16 loss to Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov in Montreal and another to Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Cincinnati quarter-finals, Nadal needed a few games to find his range against the 85th-ranked Serb.

The 21-year-old, chasing a first US Open win, showed no sign of nerves, using his stylish groundstrokes to grab the early break on the way to 4-2 lead, the four games as many as he won in his only other meeting with Nadal, a round of 16 loss at the 2014 French Open.

But a steely Nadal found his comfort zone, breaking back at 5-5 to force the opener to a tiebreak that he took 8-6.

A ruthless Nadal delivered the young Serb another tennis lesson, breaking his opponent at the first opportunity in both the second and third sets to improve his record in first round U.S. Open matches to 13-0.

Naomi Osaka

IMAGE: Naomi Osaka  in action. Photograph: US Open/Twitter

Angelique Kerber became the first women's defending champion to lose in the US Open first round when she was crushed 6-3, 6-1 by 19-year-old Japanese Naomi Osaka on Tuesday.

The German sixth seed, who has not won a title since winning at Flushing Meadows last year, never got into the match against the 2016 WTA newcomer of the year.

The last defending women's champion to lose in the first round in New York was Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005.

Osaka, who grew up in New York, broke for 5-3 and sealed the opening set with a sizzling winner down the line under the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Angelique Kerber

IMAGE: Angelique Kerber. Photograph: US Open/Twitter

World number 45 Osaka broke in the first game of the second set and continued to pepper the court with winners to hold for 2-0.

Kerber had four break points but failed to convert any as Osaka completed her demolition job to claim her first career victory against a top-10 player.

She next faces either Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson or Czech Denisa Allertova with a potential fourth-round clash against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko looming.

Karolina Pliskova

IMAGE: Karolina Pliskova in action. Photograph: US Open/Twitter

World number one Karolina Pliskova eased into the US Open second round with a no-nonsense 6-2, 6-1 victory over Poland's Magda Linette as rain began to fall at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.

The Czech, who will next face Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg or American qualifier Nicole Gibbs, outclassed her 72nd-ranked opponent after the roof on Arthur Ashe was closed just before the second set.

Pliskova, who reached the final here last year, broke twice in the opening set to take a commanding lead with a fine backhand passing shot as Linette struggled on serve.

After fighting off six break points in the fifth game of the second set, Pliskova rolled on to prevail on her first match point with a second-serve ace.

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