(August 30, 2022) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – No. 11 seed Emma Raducanu became the third defending champion in the Open Era to lose in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday, when she fell to France’s Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-3 in the Louis Armstrong Stadium night session. The British Raducanu joins Svetlana Kuznetsova (2005) and Angelique Kerber (2017) as the other defending US Open women’s champions to lose in the first round.
“I’m sorry, guys. I know you really like Emma,” the 32-year-old Cornet said to the crowd in her on-court interview after the victory. “She’s a great player and a great person.”
The 40th-ranked Cornet is playing in her 63rd straight major tournament event.
“Well, it’s amazing for me to celebrate this record by winning on Armstrong in the night session against the defending champ,” she said. “I mean, it’s like the stars are aligned, you know? It’s such a special moment for me.”
“I mean, I think it was a pretty tough match against a really experienced player,” Raducanu said.
“Yeah, I mean, obviously disappointed to lose first round. Yeah, I mean, credit to Alize, she played pretty well.”
“Obviously really disappointing, really sad to leave here. It’s probably my favorite tournament.
“But also, I mean, in a way happy because it’s a clean slate. I’m going to drop down the rankings. Climb my way back up.
“Yeah, I mean, in a way the target will be off my back slightly. Yeah, I just have another chance to claw my way back up there.
“I’ve been doing some really good work in the last six weeks especially. Yeah, just looking forward to kind of putting more of those weeks together consistently, then we’ll see what happens.”
With the loss Raducanu’s ranking will fall into the 70s.
“Well, I’m happy,” Cornet said during her news conference. “I’m tired, to be honest, but happy to be through in two sets. I think I played a pretty solid match. I had to because Emma is a very good player. She didn’t win a slam for nothing. I know how she can play.
“Tonight I think I was playing good tennis. I was doing a lot of variation, coming to the net when I could, defending when I had no other choice.
“I think she felt I was ready for the fight. It was 6-3, 6-3, but it was actually a tough fight for both of us.”
“Yeah, the atmosphere was great,” said the Frenchwoman. “I know people were rooting for Emma a lot, but I was really trying to put on a show and take them with me. It kind of work at the end.
“I just hope they’re going to be behind me for the second round.”
“I guess I’m just trying — maybe because I know is, like, my last year, my last two years, that I won’t have the chance to play so many slams after that, I’m really trying to soak in the moment, to enjoy it, to have fun, to take the energy out of the crowd.”
No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal came back against Australian Rinky Hijikata 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in just over three hours, to reach the second round. He’ll play Fabio Fognini next. He lost to the Italian at the 2015 US Open, when the Spaniard was up two sets to none.
“Well, obviously a tough match, no?” Nadal said. “Yeah, I think I started not that bad the first couple of games, but then I had some opportunities that I was not able to make it.
“I think I didn’t play a good game with my serve. Then he had the break. Then I was a little bit nervous, no? First match here in New York after three years, night session, it’s always exciting. Yeah, I went through this tough moment.
“But then I think I play better. Was not perfect. But happy. Second match in 50 days more or less. In some way was not the day to play perfect. Is a day to just make the job done, and that’s what I did. Happy for that.”
For the second consecutive appearance, Venus Williams lost in the first round of the US Open 6-1, 7-6 (5) to Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium.
Asked about what keeps her motivated to keep playing tennis, Williams said: “Three letters is W-I-N. That’s it. Very simple.”
No. 19 seed Danielle Collins stopped two-time US Open champion Naomi Osaka 7-6(5), 6-3. Collins came back from a break down in both sets.
No. 1 Iga Swiatek on her 6-3, 6-0 win over Italy’s Paolini: “Well, for sure I’m pretty happy with the performance, and I feel like I have better rhythm than in Toronto and Cincinnati so that’s great. I’m trying to enjoy that. For sure in first set at the beginning, you know, I played pretty solid game, but I needed to take it up to another level. I did that at the end and in second set, so I’m pretty proud of that.”
Former top junior Clara Burel beat Wimbledon champ and 25th seed, Elena Rybakina 6-4, 6-4 to reach the 2nd round at the US Open.
More to follow….