For Naomi Osaka, Her Five-Way Battle To Stay At No.1 Continues In Miami - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

WTA

For Naomi Osaka, Her Five-Way Battle To Stay At No.1 Continues In Miami

Five players and one position – here are the different scenarios Osaka and her rivals are facing in Miami.

Published

on

Naomi Osaka (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Once again, there is more than a hefty amount of prize money at stake for Naomi Osaka as she enters the Miami Open.

 

The two-time grand slam champion is targeting a strong run at the Hard Rock Stadium in order to maintain her place as the top ranked player on the WTA Tour. Osaka became Asia’s first ever No.1 on January 28th following her Australian Open triumph. However, since then she has failed to reach the quarter-finals at two consecutive tournaments. Losing in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships to Kristina Mladenovic, and in the fourth round of Indian Wells to Belinda Bencic.

“Miami is a tournament that I grew up watching. Since I live in South Florida, I literally went to the venue and watched all the pros, and I always wanted to be like them. I’m fortunate enough to be in this situation now.” Osaka said after her loss to Bencic.

A total of five players have a shot of becoming world No.1 by the time the tournament ends. The most straightforward way for Osaka to maintain her top spot is by reaching the final in Miami. This year will be her four main draw appearance in the tournament, but she is yet to progress beyond the third round and has lost in the second round the past two years. Osaka can also remain No.1 if she reaches the quarter-finals and Simona Halep or Petra Kvitova doesn’t win the title.

Kvitova has already been agonisingly close to the top spot. Losing in the final of the Australian Open to Osaka in a match where the winner became world No.1. The Czech can claim the position by winning the tournament. If she reaches the final, she needs Osaka to lose before the fourth round.

Kvitova has already contested two finals this year, but Miami is statistically her worst performing Premier Mandatory event. Heading into this year, she has only won 50% (9/18) of matches player. She has never been further than the Quarter-final in Miami back in 2014. Although the Czech will be hoping the change of venue (Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium) will play in her favour.

Halep has achieved a win-loss of 12-5 so far this season, but she is yet to win a title. The Romanian’s chances of claiming the top spot is resting very much on how her other competitors perform. Should she reach her maiden Miami final, she would need Osaka to lose before the third round and both Kerber and Kvitova to not win the title.

Kerber has already spent a total of 34 weeks as the queen of the WTA rankings. Fresh off reaching the final in Indian Wells, which she lost to Bianca Andreescu, the German is hoping to continue her momentum. However, to dethrone Osaka she is required to win the title to have a chance. On top of that, Osaka must lose before the third round.

“Miami, it’s a new tournament completely. The conditions are completely different. Everything starts from zero.” Said Kerber.
“I’m really looking forward because for me, it’s the first time there with the new venue and everything.” She added.

Finally, Elina Svitolina is also required to win the tournament is she wants to become world No.1. Furthermore, she needs Osaka to not win a match and Kvitova to reach the final. A tough ask, but the women’s game is known for its unpredictability.

In the draw, all seeded players have a bye in the first round.

Race to No.1

R128
R64
R32
R16
QF
SF
FNL
CHAMP
player
Osaka  5966
5991
6021 6076 6171 6346 6606 6956
Kviotova  5440
5465
5495 5550 5645 5820 6080 6340
Halep 5402
5427
5457 5512 5607 5782 6042 6392
Kerber
 5110
5135
5165 5220 5315 5490 5750 6100
Svitolina
 5020
5045
5075 5130 5225 5400 5660 6010

Latest news

Magda Linette Wins Her Maiden WTA Title at the Maiden Bronx Open

The Polish player has struck gold in New York at the age of 27.

Published

on

NEW YORK: 27-year-old Magda Linette of Poland needed to qualify to get into the inaugural Bronx Open, and won eight matches in nine days to be the last woman standing. 27-year-old Camila Giorgi of Italy had survived two third set tiebreaks this week, and saved four match points in yesterday’s semifinals, but couldn’t close out Linette despite leading for most of today’s final. For the Italian, it’s her second loss in a final within the past four weeks, with both defeats as the expense of first-time WTA champions.

 

In the first set, a deep backhand return earned Giorgi a break point in the first game, and a Linette groundstroke that soared beyond the baseline gave the Italian the early advantage.  But Giorgi would make four consecutive errors in the next game to give the break right back, a sign of how back-and-forth this final would be. After Linette held at love, Giorgi would double fault three times in a row from 30-0 up, and a Linette drop shot winner clinched the break and a 3-1 for Magda. But with the lead, Linette double faulted twice herself, then committed two backhand errors to hand the break right back at love. Both women were obviously quite tight to start on this big occasion.

At 3-3, Linette faced two more break points, yet held with some strong serving and some great defense. They would both hold easily in the next few games until 5-5. In the first point of the eleventh game, a Giorgi ball would clip the net cord and creep over the net for a winner. And Linette would not win another point in the set thereafter, as Giorgi would break at love and then hold at love to win the set.

The net cord would also prove crucial to start the second set, but this bounce would go Linette’s way, giving her the early 2-0 lead. She’d maintain the lead until 4-2, when Giorgi struck three huge forehand winners to break at love. Linette allowed a break point to slip by in the next game with some unforced errors, and Giorgi held to even the set at 4-4. And the ninth game of the set would be an extended affair. Two Magda double faults granted Camila another break point, which Linette saved. As the game went on for many deuces, Magda saved a second one with an ace, and a third with an unreturned serve. On a fourth break point, Giorgi pinned Linette in the corner with a great return, but didn’t put away her shot at the net, enabling Magda to hit a cross court pass. Linette finally took the next two points and held for 5-4. Magda earned two set points in the next game, but misfired when it mattered, making it 5-5. After a Linette hold, a Giorgi double fault gifted Magda two more set points. And Linette would only need one, leveling the match with a cross court forehand winner.

In the first game of the decider, a Linette double fault on break point gave Giorgi the immediate advantage. Serving at 1-3, Magda survived another long, grueling service game, saving multiple break points to keep herself within striking distance. When Giorgi served at 4-3, Linette earned three break points, and she’d convert on the third when a Camila forehand just barely missed the baseline. Magda then held at love to claim her first lead of the set at 5-4. In the next game, Linette earned a match point with a forehand winner down the line. And with a Giorgi error into the net, Linette captured her first WTA title.


Following the match, Magda spoke to me regarding the long, pivotal service games that she pulled out in both the second and third sets. She explained how she focused on getting her first serve in as to not allow Giorgi to pounce on her second serve. And when speaking to me about how she persevered in those pressure moments, Magda credited her extensive match play over the last nine days. “The seven matches before gave me the confidence,” Magda stated. She’d go on to tell me, “I was not nervous, I guess that was the plus of all the matches that I played before, that’s when it showed up.”

There was a sizeable Polish contingent which showed up in the Bronx today to cheer on Linette, becoming more vocal as the match progressed. She would spend considerable time thanking them and celebrating with them after the match. When asked about how much their support meant to her, Magda said, “I’m really thankful to them that they came and supported me. And it’s great because we don’t have a tournament in Poland, we are not really used to having a home crowd. So it’s great that they always come for the big tournaments, and I’m so happy that they came to watch my final”

Continue Reading

Latest news

WTA Bronx: Camila Giorgi Set For Title Showdown With Magda Linette

Camila Giorgi has twice survived a third set tiebreak this week, and saved four match points just yesterday, but can she claim the title?

Published

on

In Friday’s semifinals, Giorgi faced the top seed and world No.18 Qiang Wang.  This match would see a ton of service breaks, with each set consisting of five or more.  They would split the first two sets by identical scores of 6-4. In the third, the 27-year-old from China served for the match at 5-4, and would hold a match point, but Giorgi would save it and break for 5-5.  Camila’s firepower allows her to dictate play more often than not, and she’s continually lifted her game at the right moments this week.

 

Giorgi would then garner a match point of her own on Wang’s serve at 6-5, but also failed to convert.  In the deciding tiebreak, Qiang gained the early mini-break on the first point with a backhand winner down the line.  But Camila would punish an extremely soft second serve and get the breaker right back on serve. Wang then took advantage of a Giorgi forehand clipping the net, giving her extra time to rip a forehand and regain the mini-break.  They switched sides with Wang leading 4-2.

A few Giorgi errors gave Wang three more match points 6-3, with two of them on Qiang’s serve.  But Wang’s forehand misfired on both of the match points on her serve, and then Giorgi would put away a backhand volley to level things at 6-6.  Camila would again strike some deep and powerful groundies when she needed them, granting herself a match point at 7-6 on Wang’s serve. And Wang would sail a backhand beyond the baseline, sending the 27-year-old Italian into tomorrow’s final in dramatic fashion.

It’s the second final in four weeks for Giorgi, who was stunned in the Washington final by a first-time WTA champion, Jessica Pegula.  Camila saw her ranking fall outside the top 50 last month when her Wimbledon quarterfinalist points from 2018 dropped off her 52-week tally, but she’ll return to the top 50 with today’s win.  In her career, Giorgi is 2-5 in WTA tournament finals, with her most recent title coming last October at the Linz Open.

On Saturday in the first Bronx Open singles final, she’ll face another 27-year-old in Magda Linette of Poland.  This is only Linette’s second WTA-level final in her career, with the last coming four years ago in Tokyo. She lost in that final to Yanina Wickmayer, so a win today would give Magda her first career singles title.  Linette had to qualify to get into this draw, meaning this will be her seventh match in nine days. On Friday, she ousted Katerina Siniakova in straight sets, a day after surviving a third set tiebreak of her own in the quarterfinals against Karolina Muchova.

As much tennis as Linette has played in the Bronx, she may be the fresher of the two finalists.  Giorgi’s semifinal was played later in the day on Friday, and lasted nearly three hours. In their only previous meeting, Giorgi prevailed in three sets, on a hard court in Linette’s home country four years ago.

The first Bronx Open doubles champions were crowned on Friday, with Darija Jurak and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeating Margarita Gasparyan and Monica Niculescu in a deciding 10-point tiebreak 10-7.  This is the first title for this team, which was formed just a few weeks ago in Canada.

Continue Reading

Latest news

Chris Evert On Why Coco Gauff Winning The US Open May Not Be A Good Thing

The former world No.1 speaks out about the teenage tennis prodigy.

Published

on

Cori Gauff - Wimbledon 2019 (photo via Twitter, @Wimbledon)

At next week’s US Open, one of the talking points of the women’s draw will be rising star Coco Gauff who will be making her main draw debut at Flushing Meadows.

 

The 15-year-old tennis prodigy grabbed the attention of many during the Wimbledon Championships. It was at the event where she became the youngest player in the Open Era to successfully qualify. Then she stunned former world No.1 Venus Williams, Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog en route to the fourth round. Where she lost to eventual champion Simona Halep.

Gauff’s rapid rise in the sport has caught the attention of both her rivals and sponsors. She already has deals with Barilla and New Balance. Amounting to an estimated $1 million, according to Forbes Magazine. Those brands will be hoping for the teenager to make another deep run at the final grand slam of the season. However, one former champion has warned against any potential success.

18-time grand slam champion Chris Evert is concerned that too much is happening to Gauff at a young age. Going as far as saying that success at the major event could be counterproductive. Gauff is currently ranked 141st in the world and is the youngest player in the top 500.

“I don’t know if it’d be necessarily great for her to win the Open.” Evert said during an interview with The New York Post.
“If she continues to play the way she is, have some big wins, still develop her game and be a normal 15-year-old with some semblance of privacy, then that’d be the most successful picture of her.’
“There’s no doubt there is Grand Slam potential in her, after watching her at Wimbledon. But I am very cautious because she is so young and so many things can happen between 15 and 20 (years old), mentally, physically, emotionally.”

Evert was 19 when she won her first major title at the 1974 French Open. In total she contested 34 grand slam finals over a 15-year period.

Earlier this week Gauff made an appearance at the Winston-Salem Open. A men’s tournament that is categorised as an ATP 250 event. She took to the court to play an exhibition match against world No.2 Ash Barty. Gauff edged out the reigning French Open champion 6-4, 2-6, [10-8].

“It was super fun. It’s different to kinda play in an atmosphere like that and not be in a tournament. It was cool to play with Ash and hopefully we can do it again sometime,” Gauff told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m kind of sad to leave [Winston-Salem] because New York is busy but it was good to get the calm before the storm.”

Gauff will take on Russian world No.76 Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the US Open. There is a chance that she could play defending champion Naomi Osaka in the tournament if they both reach the third round.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending