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

Latest news

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.

Published

on

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 wtatennis.com. “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

ATP

Dominic Thiem Extends Unbeaten Run As Ferrer Says Farewell To The Argentina Open

There were mixed emotions for players at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on Thursday.

Published

on

Dominic Thiem (image via @sportsvision)

Top seed Dominic Thiem has made a winning start to the Argentina Open after triumphing in what was his first competitive match for a month.

The Roland Garros finalist has been absent from the tour in recent weeks after retiring from the Australian Open due to illness. During his absence, Thiem underwent a series of tests to establish the root of his problem and has been cleared to return to the tour.

Taking on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer in his opening match on Thursday, the Austrian powered his way to a 6-4, 6-4, victory. Converting four out of his eight break point opportunities. However, there is still room for improvement for Thiem, who only managed to win 48% of the points behind his second serve. The victory is his 10th consecutive at the tournament in Buenos Aires.

“I like the conditions here. I was able to develop a good performance to win it.” Thiem said afterwards.

This week the world No.8 is being mentored by Nicolas Massu. A former top 10 players who is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. It is understood that the partnership is set to last only a week, however, Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung have suggested that it could be extended if proven successful.

In the quarter-finals Thiem will take on Pablo Cuevas. Cuevas, who has won all six of his ATP titles on the clay, knocked out Portuguese fifth seed Joao Sousa 6-4, 7-5.

“He is one of the best players on the clay.” Said Thiem. “We already played at Roland Garros and a Master 1000, so I’m expecting an open match.”

Thiem is currently tied at 2-2 in his head-to-head with the Uruguayan player.

Farewell continues his goodbye tour

Three-time champion David Ferrer has played his last ever match at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. The Spaniard, who will officially retire from the tour in May, was edged out in a three set roller coaster against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Ferrer failed to convert two match points during the second set as he suffered a 3-6, 7-6(9), 6-3 defeat.

“I feel at home because of the love they (the crowd) have for me. Loved.” Ferrer said following his loss.
“Without a doubt. It is very special since I will not step on this court again. What I will miss most is your affection.”

Ferrer is one of only two players in history to have won the tournament three years in a row. The other was Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas during the 1970s. Following his first round win there was a special presentation conducted to honour his career. Attendees to the on-court presentation included Gabriela Sabatini, Martin Jaite, Federico Delbonis, Marc Lopez, Diego Schwartzman, Juan Ignacio Chela, Mariano Zabaleta, Juan Monaco and Gaston Gaudio.

Ferrer’s conqueror Ramos-Vinolas will take on fourth seed Diego Schwartzman next. Schwartzman defeated Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Continue Reading

ATP

After Slow Start To Season, John Isner Wins First Match Of 2019 At New York Open

There was mixed fortunes for American players at the Nassau Coliseum.

Published

on

John Isner at the 2018 ATP Finals (image by Gianni Ciaccia, copyright @Gianni Ciaccia)

Top seed John Isner has returned back to the winner’s circle after defeating Bernard Tomic 7-6(7), 6-4, in the second round of the New York Open.

Isner, who received a bye in the first round of the tournament, dominated on his serve throughout the match. Firing 27 aces past Tomic and dropping just nine points behind his serve. In the opening set the American fended off a trio of set points during the tiebreaker. In total there was only one break of serve in the entire match, but it occurred at the most significant moment. As Tomic served to stay in the match at 4-5 down in the second frame, Isner applied the pressure before triumphing on his sixth match point.

“I definitely served very well,” Isner said after the match. “I was down a set point in the first set and I came up with three aces.
“I’m happy to be in the quarter-finals. Last year I lost my first match here, hopefully I continue to improve.”

The win awards the 33-year-old his first victory of the season. Isner experienced a disappointing start to the year with early tournament losses to Taylor Fritz in Auckland and Reilly Opelka at the Australian Open. However, he has maintained his top 10 position and is currently ranked ninth in the world.

“I had a long time to stew over again not doing well down under,” Isner said. “I didn’t do well in Australia and it’s like I had another offseason. I wasn’t feeling too great after that . . . I was very eager to get out here an play and very happy to win.”

In the quarter-finals the American will take on seventh seed Jordan Thompson. Thompson recovered from a set down to defeat Chris Eubanks 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

In the other half of the draw, Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur has reached the last eight of an ATP tournament for the first time in his career. The 23-year-old stunned last year’s runner-up Steve Johnson 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4). Saving two match points during the closing stages of the match.

“I just knew I had to make returns and obviously the hardest game for him to hold is the last one of the match,” atptour.com quoted Schnur as saying. “I just hung in there and put some pressure on him.”

Schnur will next take on Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi, who defeated Ryan Harrison.

Continue Reading

Latest news

Injured Maria Sharapova Withdraws From Indian Wells

The woes continue for the Russian after she pulled out of next month’s Premier Mandatory tournament.

Published

on

It is unclear as to when Maria Sharapova will be returning back to the tour after she withdrew from the upcoming BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells due to a shoulder injury.

Organisers of the tournament confirmed Sharapova’s absence in a tweet published on Wednesday. The 31-year-old, who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, last played at the St Petersburg Open. However, at the tournament in her home country she was forced to pull out shortly after winning her opening match.

“I tried to do everything possible to be able to be ready to compete this week, but my right shoulder continues to be an issue for me,” Sharapova said in a statement on January 30th.
“I will meet with my team of doctors over the next few days to evaluate the situation, and I look forward to returning to completion as soon as possible.”

Sharapova has been blighted by shoulder problems throughout her career. In 2018 she ended her season early to recover from a right shoulder injury. Making her comeback at the Shenzhen Open earlier this year, the Russian reached the quarter-finals before retiring in her match against Aryan Sabalenka. Overall, she has played eight matches so far this season and have won six of those.

“The shoulder hasn’t been much of a secret in the past year. That’s been something I have been struggling with and had to shut down the season after the US Open,” Sharapova told reporters at last month’s Australian Open.
“[It’s] still not where I want it to be, still working through some painful days. That’s something that I have had to deal with since I was 21 years old and really at the peak of my career, [which] kind of came unexpected.
“I saw [my doctor] at the beginning of December, and he says it’s a day-by-day pain management situation. It’s definitely been an issue for the majority of last year and going into this year, as well, but it’s something that…I’m still working through.”

Sharapova is a two-time Indian Wells champion and last won the title back in 2013. She will be replaced in the draw by Mona Barthel.

This year’s tournament will get underway on March 4th.

Continue Reading

Trending