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Naomi Osaka flames out in first round at Cincinnati Open

(Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka made a quick exit from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The former world No. 1 lost to Zhang Shuai in straight sets (6-4, 7-5) in the first round Tuesday.

After Zhang’s win, Osaka and Zhang have three wins each against one another in their careers.

The victory is Zhang’s first against a major winner since the 2020 Australian Open, when she took out Sloane Stephens in three sets. The No. 44-ranked player had just four aces but was able to serve more effectively than Osaka, winning 73 percent of the points on her first and second deliveries.

Osaka, meanwhile, was upended by 29 unforced errors, which outweighed her 21 winners.

The loss marks the second first-round exit in a row for Osaka, who also fell out early in the Canadian Open last week. She was trailing Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi in Toronto when she retired from the match with a back injury.

She hasn’t dropped back-to-back opening matches since doing so at the same two tournaments in 2018. But she followed up those losses with her first major win at the U.S. Open.