Angelique Kerber is ranked number six in the world of tennis. So defeating a teenager in the U.S. Open should’ve been an easy match, right?
Nope! It turns out that 19-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan came to play. She beat Kerber 6-3, 6-1, in the very first round of the U.S. Open. A deadpan Osaka wasn’t even all that hyped after defeating the reigning U.S. Open champ. In fact, she was a bit sad.
“I was thinking about it on the court: ‘If I win, what would I do if I won? Hey, maybe I should throw the racket and scream or something.’ But then when I actually won, I didn’t do anything. So I was kind of sad about that. Especially since this is something when you’re little you dream about: playing on Arthur Ashe against a great champion,” she said after the battle at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens.
Her reaction was apparent as soon as Kerber hit a return into the net to seal the deal, Osaka just looked … well, relieved. But the emotion did hit Osaka after she saw her mother following the match; she didn’t even know she was watching.
Osaka—who was unseeded going into the U.S. Open—grew up with her Haitian father in Florida, who taught her the ins and outs of the game.
And he’s obviously done a pretty damn good job. Here’s to Osaka hopefully making a historic run this go ’round after a disappointing loss in the 2016 circuit.