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Defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka loses in third round to Leylah Fernandez

The No. 3 seed won the first set, but failed to close out the match.

2021 US Open - Day 5
Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts against Leylah Fernandez of Canada during her Women’s Singles third round match on Day Five at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka, the No. 3 seed in the women’s field, is out of the 2021 tournament after losing to Leylah Fernandez 7-5, 6-7, 4-6. Osaka was +500 to repeat as champion according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

It’s been a rough summer for Osaka. She drew criticism for refusing to speak with media members after matches at the French Open, citing mental health concerns. She ultimately withdrew from the tournament to focus on the Summer Olympics in her home country. When magazine covers from previous photoshoots Osaka did prior to her media comments, she drew more criticism.

Osaka was ranked No. 2 in the world entering the Olympics but she lost in straight sets in the third round to eventual silver medalist Marketa Vondrousova. She again faced questions about her attitude toward media members in a press conference at the Western and Southern Open, ultimately leaving the stage in tears.

The Australian Open is the next Grand Slam event on the circuit, where Osaka will look to improve on her third-round finish from a year ago. With Osaka out of the US Open field, Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka remain favorites to reach the women’s singles final.