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Tennis: Nara bows out of US Open in 1st round

Kurumi Nara, of Japan, reacts after a shot to Elise Mertens, of Belgium, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, on Aug. 27, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- Japan's Kurumi Nara bowed out of the U.S. Open in the first round of the women's singles Monday, losing in three sets to Belgian Elise Mertens.

Nara lost 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 against the world No. 15 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The 99th-ranked Japanese had won her opening match at the U.S. Open for the last five years.

"Since we had played a pretty physical match before, I thought I needed to strike first," Nara said. "It would have been good if I could have kicked it into a higher gear when I took the lead in the first set. That's where it made a difference with my opponent."

In other women's singles matches, world No. 1 Simon Halep suffered a straight-sets upset against Estonian Kaia Kanepi, losing 6-2, 6-4.

Japan's Naomi Osaka, the 20th seed, will face Laura Siegemund of Germany in her first-round match on Tuesday.

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