Gold medallist Puig crashes out of US Open

Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig has lost in the first round of the US Open.

The 32nd-seeded Puig was upset by 61st-ranked Zheng Saisai 6-4 6-2 on Monday (Tuesday AEST).

Puig had insisted that she was mentally ready for the year’s final major after the whirlwind of the past couple of weeks, when she stunningly beat three Grand Slam champions to become Puerto Rico’s first gold medallist and was feted at a parade on the island.

Still, she recognised it was quite possible her US Open trip wouldn’t go well, reminding herself that she’s just 22 years old. She’s now 1-3 at Flushing Meadows.

Zheng, also 22, upset Agnieszka Radwanska at the Olympics. She’ll be seeking to make it to the third round at a major for the first time.

Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber maintained steady course as she tries to displace Serena Williams from the top women’s ranking, with the No.2 seed rolling into the second round as her opponent quit after seven games.

The German was untouchable against Polona Hercog, who went down in a heap 6-0 1-0.

Kerber missed a chance this month to displace Williams atop the WTA as she lost the Cincinnati final.

The 28-year-old has the chance to complete the mission with the final grand slam of the season now underway.

Kerber, however, is keeping on point and steering clear of dream scenarios.

“I’m really trying to focus on my game, step by step. If the day (to take number one) comes I’ll be really happy,” she said.

“But it is really far away right now.”

The 2015 finalist Roberta Vinci, the seventh seed who shocked Williams in a semi-final a year ago in New York, started with a defeat of German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2 6-4.

Two-time grand slam winner and ninth seed Svetlana Kuznetsov beat former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-1 6-2, while double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the 14th seed, started with a defeat of Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 7-5 6-3.

Former top 10 player Belinda Bencic, whose slow abdominal injury comeback meant that she had not won a match since the Wimbledon first round two months ago, staged a comeback over Samantha Crawford 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4.

“I was frustrated in the first set,” the Swiss 19-year-old said.

“I did nothing to deserve to win that set. I was super-tight. There was nothing left to do but fight and try to win the next two sets.

Former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki began trying to correct an injury-plagued season of poor form, beating US player Taylor Townsend 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Third seed Garbine Muguruza almost fell victim to the heat but held on to beat Elise Mertens of Belgium 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

“It was difficult a little bit to breathe for me. It was really humid.” she said.

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