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30 August 2017, 01:58 | Kristopher Drake
The German sixth seed was overpowered by the 19-year-old world number 45, who won 6-3 6-1 under the roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows.
In 2017, Kerber made only the last 16 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with a first-round exit at the French Open sandwiched in between.
The women's US Open defending singles champ is out.
"I know that I'm strong and I know that I will come back stronger, for sure".
Kerber had four break points but failed to convert any as Osaka completed her demolition job to claim her first career victory against a top-10 player.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play their opening-round matches, while women's No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova is also in action on the second day of the U.S. Open.
The Czech may have risen to No1 after Wimbledon despite losing in the second round there-Simona Halep doing her the favour of failing to reach the semi-final-but her form during the rest of the season was proving just what a formidable presence she had become.
"Maybe off the court, obviously I would like to stay there as long as I can, but not to push it and I don't want to stress myself because of this and then play".
The 31-year-old Spaniard recovered from 3-5 down in the opening set against the 85th-ranked Lajovic, who has never won a match in NY.
"I think it's just the matches and how I played last year from the beginning and how I'm struggling this year".
"I played good today, so I just hope to carry that on to my next match", Osaka said. I know that I will not be giving up like this.
"When I stepped on the court and I heard all the people and I saw how big the stadium was, I got a little bit freaked out, but I tried to hold it in".
"I felt a little bit nervous walking on this court, especially after previous year and the memories I have here", said Pliskova, whose progression to the second round was only briefly halted by the roof on Arthur Ashe stadium being closed. "That really made me focus more".
Kerber then took the same court where she beat Pliskova for the title a year ago and took another stinging defeat.
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