Naomi Osaka Becomes Asia’s First World No.1 As Display In Her Honour Draws Crowds In Japan - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Becomes Asia’s First World No.1 As Display In Her Honour Draws Crowds In Japan

At the age of 21 Osaka has managed to achieve something that no other tennis player from her continent has.




Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has officially started her reign as world No.1 following her recent triumph in Melbourne Park.


Osaka, who was ranked outside of the world’s top 70 one year ago, edged her way past Petra Kvitova in a three set thriller at the Australian Open. Becoming the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win her second grand slam title straight after her first. Osaka also won the US Open in September and is the reigning champion in Indian Wells.

“I’m beyond excited to become the new WTA World No. 1,” Osaka told “I’ve always dreamt of being in this position and I am honoured to be part of the elite group of players who have reached the No. 1 ranking.”

Prior to this year, a player from Japan had previously never broke into the world’s top three in the rankings. Both Kimiko Date and Kei Nishikori have peaked at fourth. In Asia China’s Li Na, who have won two grand slam titles herself, was previously the highest ranked player from the continent. Reaching a career high of second 2014.

“When I first saw Naomi Osaka play, I thought she was really calm, very mature on court,” Li said in comments translated during a news conference at the Australian Open. “She was so focused on her game itself, no pressure, point by point. That quality and the player’s focus really impressed.”

Osaka’s rise in the sport has resulted in a surge in popularity back in Japan. Where she has sponsorship deals with companies such as Nissin Foods Holdings, Nissan Cars and personal care company Shiseido. Not counting her other deals with Adidas, Yonex and Citizen watches.

One example of Osaka’s popularity is in Nemuro, a Japanese city located in the Nemuro Subprefecture. In recent days fans have visited the area to view a special display set up in Osaka’s honour in the city hall. The exhibition includes a sign racket that she used during the 2018 US Open. Osaka’s grandfather lives in Nemuro.

“I feel proud that a person with ties to Nemuro has become the number one player in the world.” One visitor to the display told NHK News.

Now sitting at the top of the rankings, the world No.1 is eager to prove that she isn’t just a hard court player. Hoping that she can achieve a breakthrough on the clay later this year. She has already reached the third round of the French Open on two occasions.

“I have always felt like I could maybe be an all-court player,” she told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday. “The first time I played all the grand slams, I got to the third round in all of them. I had one disappointing grand slam [losing in the first round at the French Open]. I think mentally, I don’t like clay. I always tell myself I don’t like clay, so I never really embrace anything about it and that is something I have to change and the same goes for a grass court, because I see people slide and slip and it is a little bit frightening for me, so I think I have to change that.”

Osaka is the second Japanese player in history to earn over $10 million in prize money. The first is Nishikori, who currently has earnings of almost $22.1 million.

The WTA top 20 (w/c 28/1/19)

1. Naomi Osaka (+3)
2. Petra Kvitova (+4)
3. Simona Halep (-2)
4. Sloane Stephens (+1)
5. Karolina Pliskova (+3)
6. Angelique Kerber (-4)
7. Elina Svitolina
8. Kiki Bertens (+1)
9. Caroline Wozniacki (-6)
10. Aryna Sabalenka (+1)
11. Serena Williams (+5)
12. Daria Kasatkina (-2)
13. Anastasija Sevastova (-1)
14. Ashleigh Barty (+1)
15. Garbine Muguruza (+3)
16. Julia Goerges (-3)
17. Madison Keys
18. Qiang Wang (+3)
19. Caroline Garcia
20. Anett Kontaveit

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Matteo Berrettini reaches his second Masters 1000 semifinal




Matteo Berrettini has reached the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career with his 5-7 6-3 6-0 win over Cristian Garin at the Madrid Mutua Open at the Caja Magica. 


Berrettini fought back from 3-6 1-3 down by winning 11 consecutive games to take the win in the third set. 

Garin earned an immediate break in the first game, but Berrettini broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Garin won seven consecutive points from 5-5 15-30 to claim the first set 7-5 with a break in the 11th game thanks to a backhand passing shot. 

Garin went up a 3-1 lead in the second set with a break in the third game. Berrettini broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 with a forehand winner on the break point. 

Berrettini earned his second break to take a 5-3 lead, when Garin made three unforced errors. The Italian player served out 6-3 at love with an ace.

Berrettini broke serve in the first game and saved two break-back points in the second game to hold serve for 2-0. Berrettini earned his double break in the third game, as Garin made two consecutive unforced errors at 40-40. Berrettini held serve at duece to race out to a 4-0 lead. Garin missed four game points in the fifth game before dropping serve to trail 0-5, when he committed a double fault and an unforced error. Berrettini served out the third set at love with his 14th ace after 2 hours and 6 minutes to secure his spot in his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Shanghai 2019.    

“I am really proud that I came back from not an easy place mentally after my injury. I really worked hard. There were days. There were days where I wasn’t really feeling into practice because I felt like kind of there was a lot of work to be done. Sometimes I was feeling kind of unlucky that I got injured again. It was just tough, but I came back stronger in Belgrade. For here, I proved to myself that I am strong inside”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini will take on Casper Ruud in the semifinals. They will battle for a spot into their first Masters 1000 final. Ruud beat Berrettini in the quarter final in Rome last year. 

“I think he is a great player, especially on clay. He has been playing really good, really solid so far this season. We always had tough matches. Last year in Rome it was a really tough match. Still if I think about it, it hurts. I am really looking forward to get my revenge, not in a bad way, but just in a way that’s in a sport way”, said Berrettini. 

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Casper Ruud reaches his third consecutive clay Masters 1000 semifinal




Casper Ruud beat Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-1 to reach his third career Masters 1000 semifinal at the Madrid Mutua Open after advancing to this stage in Rome in 2020 and Monte-Carlo in 2021. 


Ruud backed up his win in the third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday with a straight set win over Bublik. Ruud won 8 of the final nine games and hit 19 winners to seal the win in 69 minutes. Ruud hit nine forehand winners to just two unforced forehand errors.

Ruud broke Bublik in the 11th game on his fourth set point to take the first set 7-5, as Bublik was serving at 5-6. The Norwegian player broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the second set 6-1 in 69 minutes. 

The son of former Norwegian player Christian Ruud has not broken yet and faced his first break point this week against Bublik. 

Ruud becomes the seventh unseeded ATP player to advance to the semifinals in Madrid. He will face either Matteo Berrettini or Christian Garin in the semifinal. 

 “It’s a great feeling. It’s my third Masters 1000 semifinal and my third in a row on clay. I am just playing the tennis of my life for the moment and I am enjoying it. I have just had an unbelievable motivation to play the European clay swing and when we didn’t get to play it last year, I was very sad. I think I have just double motivation compared to last year”, said Ruud.

Ruud will move up to at least world number 16 in the ATP Ranking next week. 

“I did a lot of good work when we had the corona break last year. I trained really hard on the weekdays and took the weekends off. I think that worked well. When we started well, I felt good again. I think I am a much better player mentally, physically and playing-wise as well. I am hitting the ball and playing the heavy clay-court game that I like to play”, said Ruud. 

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Aryna Sabalenka beats Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova to set up a re-match of the Stuttgart final against Ashleigh Barty




Aryna Sabalenka has reached her third final of the season with a 6-2 6-3 win over six-time Grand Slam quarter finalist Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinal of the Madrid Mutua Open. 


Sabalenka earned her first break to take a 3-1 lead. She hi a series of forehands in the final game to close out the first set 6-2. 

Sabalenka raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break. Pavlyuchenkova earned her first break points, but Sabalenka held serve for 5-0. Pavlyuchenkova pulled one break in the seventh game and held serve to claw her way back to 3-5. Sabalenka hit two backhands to earn her first match point and sealed the win with her fourth ace .  

Sabalenka has extended her win-loss record to 23-6 (including 9-1) this year. She has won the opening tournament of the season and lost the Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix final to Ashleigh Barty. 

Barty and Sabalenka will meet again in the Madrid Mutua Open this week in the re-match of the Stuttgart final

The Belarusian player has not dropped a set this week. The Belarusian player won 73 % of her second service points and converted four of her break points against Pavlyuchenkova, who had won their only previous head-to-head match in Toronto in 2019. 

“I think my game has improved a lot on the clay court. For sure, it’s given me some confidence, but there are still so many things to work on. I am just really with my level here in Madrid. I think from the side it looks like everything is going my way. Some games I did not feel my serve. Some games something wasn’t working. It’s always part of the process, but I am really happy that from the side, it looks like everything is going my way”,said Sabalenka. 

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