World No.1 Naomi Osaka Suffers Shock Loss To Putintseva - UBITENNIS
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World No.1 Naomi Osaka Suffers Shock Loss To Putintseva

Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Nature Valley Classic with a shock straight-sets loss to Yulia Putintseva.

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Naomi Osaka (@OmnisportNews on Twitter)

Naomi Osaka tumbled meekly out of the Nature Valley Classic with an alarming 6-2 6-3 loss to World No.43 Yulia Putintseva.

 

The Japanese player, 21, performed brilliantly in Melbourne at the beginning of the year. She beat Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open and become World No.1 for the first time.

Since then, it has been a strange season for Osaka. She lost to Kristina Mladenovic in Dubai, she was beaten by Belinda Bencic in Indian Wells and Rome and she was knocked out in the third round of the French Open by Katerina Siniakova.

The Japanese described that loss at Roland Garros as the best thing that could have happened because she had been overthinking the prospect of a calendar slam.

She said a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, but it looks like it is back already. Unfortunately we will to have to wait for insights from the World No.1 herself as she did not give a press conference after her loss in Birmingham.

Osaka makes awful start

Osaka played poorly from the start against Putintseva. She was broken twice in the first four games as the Kazakhstani out-fought her during lengthy battles and established an extraordinary 5-0 lead.

The World No.1 finally got herself on the scoreboard when she held in game six. She then decisively grabbed a break in game seven to raise hopes of a revival. However, Putintseva quickly put a stop to such thinking with a clinical service game to seal the set 6-2.

Osaka made a series of woeful errors at the beginning of the second set and soon found herself 2-0 down. It could have ended quickly from that point, but Putintseva faltered and the Japanese player suddenly reeled off three consecutive games – with the help of a net-cord in game five.

Hope of a comeback quickly disappears for Osaka

That sequence could have sparked a comeback, but Osaka reverted to the poor imitation of herself that had been on court for most of the match by making a few sloppy errors to gift the World No.43 an immediate break back.

One shot during that game summed up the World No.1’s performance. She hit a truly awful dropped shot that landed at the back of the service box and then watched helplessly as Putintseva guided the ball past her for a winner.

After the Kazakhstani held to love, Osaka made three more errors to gift her three break points in game eight. She took the first with an excellent forehand winner.

The Japanese player provided some resistance in game nine. She hit a searing forehand winner and played a great point to make it 30-30. However, she then made another sloppy error to give Putintseva her first match point, and the World No.43 seized it with a sublime drop shot that spun sideways after it bounced.

“It feels great to beat the World No.1,” Putintseva said. “It’s a good feeling when no-one expects you to win because you can play with freedom.”

She continued, “The title I won in Nuremburg gave me a little bit more confidence in my game but I don’t think I’ve started to play much better. I was already playing well in the weeks before (that event).”

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Coco Gauff Undeterred By Mouthwatering Australian Open Showdown With Osaka

The rising star looks ahead to her clash with the world No.4.

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Teenage sensation Coco Gauff says she has nothing to lose in her upcoming clash with Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.

 

Gauff, who is the youngest player in this year’s draw at the age of 15, battled into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Taking on Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, the American prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, after more than two hours of play. Coming back from a 0-3 deficit in the deciding set to progress into the last 32 of the tournament on her debut. Gauff has now won six main draw grand slam matches before her 16th birthday.

“I think I was just trying to stay calm mostly and stay positive. I’ve always believed that I can come back regardless of the score.” She commented about her latest win.
“The whole match I knew I needed to be more aggressive. I guess I finally decided to do that even though I wish I decided earlier.’
“I think I kind of felt the momentum changing. I knew I had to keep pressing.”

Tipped to be a future star of the women’s game, Gauff achieved another record with her latest win. She is the first female American player to reach the third round of her first three grand slam tournaments in 30 years. A fete that wasn’t even achieved by the formidable Williams sisters.

The reward for the youngster is a second meeting with two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka, who won the Australian Open title 12 months ago. They first clashed at the US Open last September with the Japanese player dropping only three games against Gauff.

Despite being the underdog in the upcoming match, Gauff has vowed to give it her all. Now familiar with Osaka’s game on the court, the world No.67 believes she will be ‘less nervous’ during their next meeting.

“I think in general my mindset has always been nothing to lose really. Even when in juniors, even though I was ranked pretty high in juniors, I was technically supposed to win. Then I still felt like I had nothing to lose.” She explained.
“I still feel that now. I think my mindset just is I’m going to fight. If I lose, the world is not going to end. I’m going to have another match in maybe a week or so.’
“I think it’s just less pressure to win. I feel like for me, I’m not trying to win so much, but trying to play my best tennis on the court. Winning comes with that if I play good.”

Reflecting on their previous encounter, Gauff paid tribute to her rival. Who consoled her tearful opponent on the court following their match at the Arthur Ashe stadium. A gestured hailed by the teenager as ‘true sportsmanship.’

“I think that’s something if I had a child or something, that’s something I would want my child to see.” She said.
“It just shows what being a competitor really is. You might hate the person on the court, but off the court you love them, not really like hate. But you want to win.’
“Sometimes when we’re on the court, we say things we don’t mean because we have that mentality.”

Gauff will play Osaka on Friday. Osaka beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4, in her second round match earlier in the day.

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Grand Slam

Julia Goerges Knocks Out 13th Seed Petra Martic At Australian Open 2020

Petra Martic became only the second WTA top 20 player to be knocked out of the 2020 Australian Open when she lost a tough three-set match to Julia Goerges.

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If Petra Martic looked at the 2020 Australian Open draw and felt a sense of dread when she saw that she would probably face Julia Goerges in the second round, that would be entirely understandable.

 

The German, 31, is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous unseeded players at Melbourne Park this year. She possesses a huge serve and a brutal forehand. She has won seven WTA titles, appeared in ten other finals, and was once ranked World No.9. And she was seeded the last two times she participated in the first Grand Slam of the year.

To make matters worse for Martic, Goerges beat her in straight sets just seven months ago when then played at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

When you add all these ingredients together, you get the perfect recipe for an early exit from the 13th seed.

Ultimately, that is exactly what happened. But you would not have guessed it was going to during the first set, as Goerges made way too many unforced errors against a player as consistent as Martic.

Consequently, the German lost it 6-4. There was only one break of serve, but it came at a crucial time – the ninth game – and the Croatian then held easily to clinch the set.

Goerges keeps the faith

Despite this setback, Goerges never lost faith in her approach. She continued to attack – as she always does – but she also managed to cut down on the number of errors she made.

Unsurprisingly, this improvement yielded positive results for the 2018 Wimbledon semi-finalist. She hit eight winners (and made just five unforced errors) as she opened a 5-2 lead.

However, Goerges almost wasted her hard work. She made two unforced errors when she was serving for the set at 5-3 and suddenly found herself facing three break points. Fortunately for the German, she produced one winner and Martic made two errors to bring the score back to deuce. Then Goerges won the next two points to seal the set.

The third set was a strange affair. The German looked in control when she broke early and established a 4-2 lead.

However, she played an awful service game to allow the Croatian to break back and level the score at 4-4. Then she failed to convert two break points in the next game and Martic capitalised to move ahead.

To her great credit, Goerges remained resolute. She battled to a hold. Then she hit some sparkling winners and outlasted the 13th seed in a few long rallies to get the decisive break in game eleven. Finally, she hit three superb winners as she held to love to complete a hard-fought triumph.

Osaka glides into round three

Naomi Osaka continued her serene progress through the draw with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Zheng Saisai in the Margaret Court Arena.

Although she will be happy with the win, the defending champion will be keen to serve better in the next round. She was broken three times by the Chinese player and only won 57% of all the points played on her serve.

Osaka could face Coco Gauff in the last 32 for the second Grand Slam in a row. The American sensation takes on Sorana Cirstea in the second round later today.

Elsewhere in Melbourne, Sofia Kenin became the first player to make it through to the third round. She completed a 6-1 6-3 thrashing of American youngster Ann Li in just 57 minutes.

The 14th seed will now line up against Zhang Shuai in the third round. The experienced Chinese player beat American qualifier Catherine McNally 6-2 6-4.

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Simona Halep Plays Down Injury Fears Following Australian Open Falls

Is the two-time grand slam champion facing the prospect of playing another grand slam tournament with an injury cloud looming over her head?

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Simona Halep (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Fourth seed Simona Halep has said there is ‘nothing dangerous’ about her wrist after she awkwardly landed on it during her first round match at the Australian Open.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion suffered a couple of falls throughout her at times tricky 7-6(5), 6-1, win over America’s Jennifer Brady. The person who stunned world No.1 Ash Barty in Brisbane earlier this year. During the first set it appeared as if the two-time grand slam champion hurt her right wrist following a fall. In the immediate aftermath, she had heavy strapping put on it.

It is not the first time Halep has suffered an early injury scare at the tournament. Two years ago, she rolled her ankle during her first round match. That was the same year where she reached the final of the tournament for the first time.

“A little bit sore, but nothing dangerous at this moment. So I will see tomorrow morning after I wake up.” Halep commented on her wrist.
“I don’t know why in the first round I always fall down. Maybe it’s a good sign. Let’s hope for that.” She added.

Despite the scare, the 28-year-old managed to secure a place in round two with the help of a dominant 27-minute second from from her. Producing 20 winners and winning 65% of her service points. Making it her 20th main draw match win at the Australian Open since 2011.

“I had just to push her back as much as possible, to make her run, playing a little bit both sides. I served pretty okay. And after that very tough set, in the second set I’ve been more relaxed. I’ve been a little bit more aggressive. I tried to finish some points, which I did.” She commented on her latest performance.

As one of a group of former grand slam champions in the women’s draw, Halep is among the favourites to lift the Melbourne title. Although she dismisses the theory that her previous triumphs place her on a stronger footing for her current tournament. On the women’s tour the last 12 major tournaments have been won by 10 different players. During that period Halep and Naomi Osaka are the only to have won multiple titles.

“It’s just a big, huge thing that I could win Wimbledon. For myself, it’s huge. But normally in life, it’s the same.” She explained.
“I had confidence before Wimbledon because I won the (2018) French Open, I won so many titles. So I don’t stay related to one tournament about the confidence. The confidence is coming with the matches. I feel good on the court now.”

Halep will play British qualifier Harriet Dart in the next round. The world No.173 scored a marathon 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) win over Japan’s Misaki Doi.

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