NEW YORK-Former champion Naomi Osaka made quick work of second-round opponent Camila Giorgi 6-1 6-2 at the U.S. Open on Wednesday, in a lopsided matchup at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in which she showed no sign of slowing down.

A dominant Osaka came roaring out of the gate, winning the first five straight games in near-pristine form, committing just four unforced errors in the first set and winning 10 of her 12 first-serve points. Osaka, who was forced to withdraw from her Western & Southern Open final last week with a left hamstring injury, walked onto the court with her left leg wrapped in medical tape but showed no signs of fatigue during the match, firing off four aces and forcing her opponent into 24 errors. “My serve was pretty good,” she said. “I’m really happy with my attitude. I thought I was really positive throughout.” 

Osaka, who kept Italy’s Giorgi on the run throughout the match, kept the pace up to complete the affair in just one hour and 10 minutes. “I’m definitely seeing the importance in time management. I learned a lot from watching Serena yesterday because she was down almost 3-0 but I feel like she picked it up when she knew what she needed to do,” Osaka said in a televised interview after the match. 

Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, defeated Kristie Ahn 7-5 6-3 in her first-round match on Tuesday. Osaka, who won the 2019 Australian Open but has not made it past the fourth round of a major since, told reporters that she’s taking the tournament “match by match.” “I stopped thinking about winning. I feel like I put too much pressure on myself,” she said. “I’m only thinking about putting myself in a good position to win.”

The fourth-seeded player, who represents Japan and has emerged as a torchbearer for change within her sport, wore a mask before and after her match honoring Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after a violent encounter with Aurora, Colorado, police officers in 2019. She next faces Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the third round.

Former world number one Pliskova had no answer to Garcia’s power and precision and her exit marked the worst display by a women’s top seed in the tournament since Simona Halep’s first round defeat in 2018. Petra Kvitova overcame a bout of nerves and a rocky start to defeat Kateryna Kozlova 7-6(3) 6-2 while former winner Angelique Kerber downed German compatriot Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-3 7-6(6).

DJOKOVIC OVERCOMES SLOW START TO EXTEND WIN STREAK

World number one Novak Djokovic brushed aside Briton Kyle Edmund 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 6-2 on Wednesday after a sluggish start to remain unbeaten in 2020 and move into the third round of the US Open. 

On a hot, humid day at Flushing Meadows, Edmund was left bathed in sweat while a cool and collected Djokovic stayed on course for his 18th Grand Slam title and improved his 2020 match record to 25-0. It stands as the second-best start to a season since the Serb went 41-0 in 2011. With the two other members of the sport’s Big Three — Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal — absent from the tournament, Djokovic is heavy favourite to hoist the trophy and the Serb overcame a slow start to show why. 

“Mentally, Kyle played a fantastic first set, did not do much wrong,” said Djokovic, who celebrated his victory by moving to the centre of the court and acknowledging the canned applause. “It was anybody’s game really for a set and a half. “Winning the second set I felt more comfortable. “Overall, it was a very good test and I am happy to get through.”

Also advancing was fifth seed Alexander Zverev, who overcame American wildcard Brandon Nakashima to seal a 7-5 6-7(8) 6-3 6-1 victory while Canada’s Denis Shapovalov beat Kwon Soon-woo 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 6-2. Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas got past Maxime Cressy in a late match, beating the American 7-6(2) 6-3 6-4.