Former US Open champions Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu were knocked out on a day of upsets at the hard-court major in New York on Tuesday.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka slumped to a 7-6 (5), 6-3 defeat against Danielle Collins while Alize Cornet beat defending champion Raducanu 6-3, 6-3 in the first round.
Raducanu, 19, has struggled in the spotlight of being a Grand Slam winner, failing to get beyond the second round of any of the majors in 2022.
“In a way I’m happy because it’s a clean slate. The target will be off my back,” said the teenager.
She gave us a historic run last summer.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 31, 2022
Venus Williams and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina also suffered early exits at the US Open.
Venus, who first played the US Open in 1997, was defeated 6-1, 7-6 (5) by Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck.
Rybakina lost 6-4, 6-4 to French qualifier Clara Burel, ranked a lowly 131, on the back of 37 unforced errors.
Meanwhile, World No 3 Nadal, who is chasing a 23rd Grand Slam title and third of 2022, arrived at the tournament having played just one match since an abdominal injury forced him to forfeit his Wimbledon semifinal.
He next faces Fabio Fognini, the Italian who famously defeated him from two sets down in the third round of the US Open in 2015.