Naomi Osaka's quest for a third U.S. Open title came to an early end with a straight-set loss to 19th-seeded Danielle Collins in the first round at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.
Collins, who reached her first Grand Slam final this year in the Australian Open, won a close first-set tiebreak (7-5) before pulling away in the second set 6-3 to advance in the early morning hours Wednesday.
It marks the first time since 2017 that Osaka will finish the year without winning a Grand Slam.
"I'm the type of person that thinks a lot, to the point where I overthink. Sometimes when I play matches, I have to tell myself to stop thinking, just go more on instinct," Osaka told reporters. "I feel like I just have to chill a little bit, because there's a lot of like random chaos in my head right now."
Osaka actually put together a solid overall performance and held a couple key statistical advantages, including aces (8-1) and winners (25-23). She also had fewer unforced errors (24-19) and watched Collins rack up nine double-faults.
The 24-year-old Japanese star couldn't come up with enough key points, though. She converted just two of her eight break-point opportunities, while the 28-year-old American went 3-of-5 in those critical situations.
"Lately, I felt really restrained. I'm not really sure why," Osaka said. "I'm beginning to feel like I can't hit the shots that I know I can, like especially on my forehand. I don't know if it's a matter of practicing more or something like that. I just don't have the same feeling."
It's the continuation of some recent struggles for Osaka, who's won just one match in her last five tournaments dating back to the French Open. She skipped Wimbledon because of an Achilles injury.
Collins hadn't beaten Osaka in three prior meetings, which were all lopsided wins for the four-time major champion.
"When you lose to someone three times, you get a lot of information on what you can do better," Collins said. "With Naomi being the player that she is, she definitely whooped me the last time. I just had to learn from that and make adjustments, and I think I did that."
The Florida native advances to face Cristina Bucsa in the second round.
Meanwhile, Osaka was asked whether she's planning a more extensive schedule in order to improve her ranking, which has dropped to No. 44. Being outside the top 32 creates more difficult Grand Slam draws, like having to face Collins, who was ranked 19th, in the opening round.
"I'm not really sure right now," she said.
Osaka skipped the final few months of the WTA Tour schedule last year following the U.S. Open before returning for the start of the 2022 season in Australia.