Naomi Osaka def Angelique Kerber 63 61
2016 was Angelique Kerber’s defining year. She started the season with her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne, earned Olympic Silver in Rio, and capped the year by winning another Major at the US Open. The cherry on top? She earned the World #1 ranking, and remained the WTA’s top-player through year’s end, reaching the championship match at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
2017 hasn’t been as kind to the German, even with Serena’s maternity leave. Coco Vandeweghe took her to the woodshed in the 4th-Round of the Australian Open, she fell to Ekaterina Makarova in Round-1 at Roland Garros, and Garbine Muguruza eliminated her in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. The defending US Open Champion came into Flushing as the #6 Player in the World. Expect that ranking to plummet further in two weeks, when Kerber drops out of the top-10.
On Tuesday, Japan’s Naomi Osaka scored the biggest win of her young career on the sport’s grandest stage. The 2016 WTA Newcomer of the Year struck first, breaking Kerber right after the third sit-down, then serving out the set. Angelique looked dazed. Fumbling through a lackluster service game at the start of set-2, Angelique gifted Naomi with the early edge, and the 19-year-old took full advantage. Osaka allowed Kerber only one more service-game en-route to Round-2.
Naomi Osaka is Talented. That’s capitalized for a reason. She’s been to the 3rd-Round of all four Grand Slams, including last month’s Wimbledon Championships. In 2016, she started the season ranked outside the top-200, and finished the year in the top-40. Did I mention she’s just 19-years-old? You get the idea.