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Danielle Collins spoils Carla Suarez Navarro’s U.S. Open farewell

Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) serves against Danielle Collins (USA)(not pictured) on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) serves against Danielle Collins (USA)(not pictured) on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Carla Suarez Navarro played her final U.S. Open singles match on Monday, and it wasn’t a polite farewell.

American Danielle Collins, the No. 26 seed, hammered 10 aces and needed just 68 minutes to record a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Suarez Navarro in a first-round match. Collins had a 41-5 edge in winners.

But the two-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist (2013, 2018) from Spain received a rousing ovation as she departed the court. She wasn’t about to let the tennis result damper her day after recently recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I lost, but this year was a gift,” Suarez Navarro said after the match. “Last year on these dates, I didn’t know if I could be here one more time or not, and I’m here. I’m happy for that.”

Suarez Navarro said she was in the hospital on August 30 of last year shortly after being diagnosed with lymphoma. She underwent six months of chemotherapy before making her return at the French Open in June.

She previously announced this would be her final U.S. Open.

Suarez Navarro, who turns 33 on Friday, was ranked as high as No. 6 in the world in 2016. She was a Grand Slam quarterfinalist seven times.

“I had a dream when I was young, and it was to be top-10 player in the world,” Suarez Navarro said. “I think this is so difficult. Of course I have more dreams, but I never get it. I never won a Grand Slam. I never was No. 1 in the world, but this is so difficult.”

Collins, who has won 18 of her last 21 matches, will face Kaja Juvan of Slovenia in the second round. Juvan defeated England’s Heather Watson 6-1, 6-4.

“I think I played really aggressive and I served really well,” Collins said. “It’s fun having a full house and fans all over, and have the atmosphere going not only on your court but on the other courts as well.”

Reigning U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka, who experienced a rocky summer, rolled to a 6-4, 6-1 win over the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova in her opener.

The third-seeded Japanese star had won just five of her past nine matches as she arrived in New York. Osaka withdrew from the French Open and skipped Wimbledon, citing a new to focus on her mental health.

Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus downed Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-0.

Jennifer Brady, the highest-seeded American at No. 13, withdrew Monday due to a foot injury. Brady was a semifinalist at the 2020 U.S. Open before losing to Osaka. Brit Johanna Konta (thigh) and No. 27 seed Jelena Ostapenko (medical reasons) of Latvia also withdrew Monday.

Meanwhile, 2020 finalist Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, the No. 18 seed, sailed to a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic.

Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine began her tourney with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Canada’s Rebecca Marino.

No. 8 seed Czech Barbora Krejcikova, the French Open champion, rolled to a 6-0, 6-4 win over Australia’s Astra Sharma. No. 9 Garbine Muguruza of Spain fought to a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win over Donna Vekic of Croatia.

Romania’s Simona Halep, seeded 12th, registered a 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

Germany’s Angelique Kerber, seeded 16th, rallied to edge Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), while 19th-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan was a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

American Coco Gauff, seeded 21st, posted a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Poland’s Magda Linette.

Belgium’s Elise Mertens, the 15th seed, edged Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5). Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, seeded 20th, got past France’s Alize Cornet 7-5, 7-5, and 25th-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia routed Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-1.

In a battle of unseeded Americans, Sloane Stephens notched a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7) win over Madison Keys in a rematch of the 2017 title match won by Stephens.

–Field Level Media