New York (AFP)
Defending champion Naomi Osaka struggled to qualify for the second round of the US Open on Tuesday against Russian Anna Blinkova (84), away 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6 -2 in 2h28.
"I love you, that's why I wanted to stay long on the court and I played almost 3 hours," Osaka told the audience ... who did not have to believe it.
The left knee, which forced her to give up in Cincinnati, was locked in a big knee brace and the world N.1 took a long time to get into her match.
She let Blinkova escape 4-1 in the first inning, before lining up 5 games in a row to win the set.
She then broke the lead to lead 6-5 in the second run, but Blinkova came back and won in the deciding game.
Round 3 was easier and the Japanese, whose world throne is in play at Flushing Meadows, will face in the second round the Polish Magda Linette (53).
© 2019 AFP