Emma Raducanu’s US Open title defence ended at the first hurdle with a nightmare straight-sets loss to wily Frenchwoman Alize Cornet at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Raducanu did not drop a set in 10 matches last year but she was error-prone on a windy New York evening and fell to a 6-3 6-3 defeat.
The 19-year-old’s ranking will now plummet to around the 80 mark but, after a year that has been far from easy, she may feel a sense of relief that this moment is over and she can seek to build more solid foundations for her tennis career.
Swiatek storms through but Wimbledon champion is knocked out
World No 1 Iga Swiatek swept into the second round with a comfortable victory over Jasmine Paolini.
Swiatek has not been in great form since her 37-match winning run ended at Wimbledon but she had no trouble brushing aside Italian Paolini 6-3 6-0 in sweltering conditions at Flushing Meadows.
“I feel like my level is just better,” said the Pole. “We’ll see if I’m going to hold on to that.”
Swiatek will be looking to better her best run in New York so far, which came last year when she reached the fourth round.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina was an early casualty, losing to French qualifier Clara Burel 6-4 6-4.
Rybakina said ahead of the tournament she does not feel she is being treated like a Grand Slam champion and being scheduled on the small Court 12 would not have changed that.
Former champion Sloane Stephens fought back from a set down to beat Greet Minnen 1-6 6-3 6-3, while Karolina Pliskova overcame Magda Linette 6-2 4-6 7-6 (10-8).
Fourth seed Paula Badosa also had to come from a set down to see off Lesia Tsurenko while sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka eased to a 6-1 6-3 victory over Catherine Harrison.
American eighth seed Jessica Pegula beat Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-2 while two-time Grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza also advanced in straight sets beating Clara Tauson 6-3 7-6 (7-5).