A tearful Naomi Osaka on Tuesday retired injured and US Open champion Emma Raducanu fell at the first hurdle as the top women’s players continued their preparations for Flushing Meadows at the Canadian Open in Toronto.
News of the pending retirement of Serena Williams overshadowed proceedings at the tune-up for the year’s final Grand Slam, but there were no shortage of first-round upsets for fans to enjoy, including one by local Bianca Andreescu.
Twice US Open champion Osaka, in only her second tournament back from an Achilles injury, battled on gamely before retiring while trailing Kaia Kanepi 7-6 (7/4), 3-0.
Photo: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY
“I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying my best to push through it, I just wasn’t able to today,” Osaka said.
Toronto-born Raducanu lost a tight first set to Camila Giorgi, but looked on course to level up the contest when she took a 2-0 lead in the second.
The Italian defending champion stormed back to rattle off the last six games with a mix of solid returns, net play and movement, however, easing into the second round 7-6 (7/0), 6-2.
“I think it was a really good match, to be honest,” ninth seed Raducanu said. “I just need to get better at dealing with players who play as quick as she does.”
Andreescu later delighted a packed house with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina in an evening match that left the Russian world No. 9, fresh off a title win in San Jose, clearly disgruntled.
The Canadian, who took the title in 2019 before winning the US Open, twice called out the trainer, including during the first-set tiebreak, before prevailing in a topsy-turvy match on center court.
“I was honestly a mess,” the world No. 53 Andreescu said. “I’m so sorry for my attitude, I really do not feel well, I don’t know what it was ... maybe I ate too much before the match.”
The news that six-time US Open champion Williams would be hanging up her racket dominated talk among players and fans.
“She changed the sport and she did a lot and now she can bow down,” spectator Natalie Chapusette said of the 40-year-old.
“It is good news for her, but not for the fans. But if you see the human behind the sportsperson, she deserves it,” she said.
Kanepi was unmoved by the news.
“I took it very calmly,” she told reporters. “Because, you know, players, they retire at a certain age. I think it’s normal.”
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