TENNIS

Naomi Osaka crashes out of Cincinnati Open after first round

The four-time Grand Slam winner has been bested by Zhang Shuai after a below-par display in Ohio as she will not also be seeded in the upcoming US Open.

Naomi Osaka was knocked out of the Cincinnati Open after the first round

Naomi Osaka's career seems to be at an all-time low, following her exit from the Western and Southern Open.

The former world No 1 was defeated by Zhang Shuai in straight sets after one hour and 14 minutes.

Zhang appeared to be too much for the four-time Grand Slam winner in Ohio as the former capitalized and won 6-4, 7-5 on Centre Court.

Osaka got off to a nightmare start and never really recovered as she was broken in the opening game of the match.

The Japanese superstar only had one break point opportunity in the set in game six but failed to make good use of the opportunity with Zhang forcing mistakes from her opponent.

Zhang will face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the second round after the Russian also caused an upset of her own on Monday as she defeated 13th seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 7-5.

“It’s always tough to pay a really good friend,”

“Naomi is amazing but she didn’t have the best day today.” Zhang said after equalling on head-to-head with the Japanese player.

Osaka picked up an Achilles injury at the French Open and she only returned at the Silicon Valley Classic at the beginning of August while she retired with a back injury from the Canadian Open last week.

The loss for Osaka in Ohio which came after a first-round exit in Toronto and a second round defeat at the Silicon Valley Classic, means that she has slipped to outside the top 40 of the WTA Rankings and she will also not be seeded for the upcoming US Open.

It will be the first time since 2017 that the 24-year-old former two-time US Open champion Osaka is not seeded in New York.

Her last title was the 2021 Australian Open and she has reached only one final since then, having lost in the first round at Roland Garros, Toronto and now Ohio.

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