Laughter Proving To Be The Best Medicine For Naomi Osaka In Cincinnati - UBITENNIS
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Laughter Proving To Be The Best Medicine For Naomi Osaka In Cincinnati

The world No.1 is starting to regain some of her momentum ahead of the final grand slam of the year.

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Naomi Osaka (foto via Twitter, @the_LTA)

During a season that has had plenty of highs and lows Naomi Osaka has a new method in dealing with life on the tour – her sense of humour.

 

2019 has seen Osaka clinch her second grand slam title at the Australian Open before becoming the first Asian player in history to top the world rankings. The milestones elevated her to the media spotlight and placed the introverted player into an uncomfortable spot. Dealing with the surge of interest, her results at times has been below-par as she switched coaches earlier this year.

After what has been a roller coaster past eight months, Osaka appeared to be finding her footing once again on the North American hard courts. On Wednesday she moved into the third round of the Wester and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Edging her way past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2.

“I just wanted to carry on like the sort of happy laughing vibe from Toronto, but I think I was a bit too, like, giggly.” Osaka reflected after her match. “I wasn’t really sure — there were some points I didn’t really have to laugh, but I did, because it was either that or get a little frustrated.’
“So it was a bit hard kind of juggling that. Then in the second set I think I did better in that aspect where I was just trying to focus and not laugh so much.”

During one stage of her match Osaka was even told by her coach, Jermaine Jenkins, to cut down on the laughter. However, she believes it has a positive impact on her game. Helping her ‘cope with the situation.’

“I think everyone knows when I play well is when I’m calm, right? But it’s been a bit hard to get back to that mindset, because I’m not necessarily sure.” Osaka explained.
“For me, when I’m calm, it’s just when I have this very — I’m very sure of what I’m doing. It’s a bit hard to be very sure what I’m doing when, like, things aren’t going my way sometimes.’
“I’m just basically trying to adjust with what’s going on right now. I never really thought of it as tactical. I just thought it was, like, my way of coping with the situation.”

The 21-year-old is trying to find some consistency in her game after of her title defence at the US Open later this month. Osaka last contested a final back in January and has failed to reach the semi-final stage at her past six tournaments.

On Monday Osaka returned back to the world No.1 spot after overtaking Ash Barty. Despite the accolade, the Japanese player dismissed the significance of it. Saying her focus is on her matches and not where she is ranked in the world.

“I don’t really care about the rankings anymore. I don’t think too much about it. For me, I just try to focus on every match, because I know that every one that I play from now on they’re going to be playing really well.” She said.
“I’m not, like, a surprise anymore. Everyone by now knows my game, and I have to play, like, just basically play as well as I can every match.”

Osaka will play Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei next in Cincinnati. A player renowned for her unorthodox style of play. It will be the fourth meeting between the two this year with Osaka winning two out of their three previous meetings.

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Rebecca Peterson clinches her maiden WTA title

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Twenty-four year-old Swedish player Rebecca Peterson lifted the first title of her career at the Jangxi Open in Nanchang after beating Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-0.

 

The world number 78 Petterson, who had reached only a quarter final so far this season, has become the 14th first-time winner on the WTA Tour so far in 2019.

Peterson reeled off nine consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set to clinch the win, breaking serve four times.

Peterson dropped only nine points in her service games and did not face any break points. The Swede earned her first break in the first game after a double fault from Rybakina. Peterson consolidated the break by holding serve at love and opened up a 4-2 lead, when Rybakina sent a forehand long.

Peterson broke serve in the seventh game to race out to a 5-2 lead, as Rybakina made a backhand error. Peterson sealed the first set with a forehand crosscourt winner in the eighth game.

Peterson earned an early break, after Rybakina sent a forehand long, and went up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina did not win a single game point and sent Petersen to deuce in the fifth game of the second set, but she dropped serve. Petersen wrapped up the match with a bagel thanks to a service winner on her first championship point.

Rybakina, who scored two three-set wins against Viktoria Golubic in the quarter final and Peng Shuai in the semifinal, hit 3 winners to 11 unforced errors. She had won her maiden title in Bucharest last July.

 

 

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Karolina Pliskova lifts her fourth title of the season in Zhengzhou

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Number 1 seed Karolina Pliskova cruised past number 7 seed Petra Martic 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes in the final of the Zhengzhou Open, an inaugural WTA Premier tournament. The final was postponed by six hours after torrential rain.

 

Pliskova came back from 0-2 in the first set by winning 12 of the next 15 games to win her fourth title this season after Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne. The Czech player is the fifth top seed to win a tournament this season after Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen, Alison Van Uytvanck in Budapest, Caroline Garcia in Nottingham and Anastasjia Sevastova in Jurmala.

Pliskova took a re-match against Martic, who beat the Czech player in four of their previous five head-to-head matches and won their third round clash at Roland Garros.

Pliskova saved two of her three break points and converted four of her eight break points.

Martic earned an early break with a forehand return winner to open up a 2-0 lead in the first set. As the match resumed after a rain delay Martic did not convert a double break point. Pliskova broke back in the fourth game with a forehand winner to draw level to 2-2.

Pliskova saved a break point chance in the seventh game with a forehand down the line. The Czech player broke serve in the eighth game, when Martic made a forehand error and sealed the first set 6-3 with a service winner.

Pliskova dropped only six points on her first serve in the second set and broke serve in the third game when Martic sent a backhand slice wide. The former world number 1 player held her serve with an ace before breaking for the second time in the fifth game. She hit four winners to seal the win, as she was serving for the match at 5-2.

“I think I played good matches. Of course, not all the matches were perfect, the week never can be really perfect because it’s so many days and so many things can be just different every day. I beat tough players, which I maybe lost to a couple of times before. I think that was the biggest plus of this week, especially with Petra. These wins are always important. It doesn’t matter where you play, which tournament you play, but it’s always important. To get the trophy is always special. It does not matter really which tournament or how big the tournament is, it’s always good”, said Pliskova.  

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Nao Hibino beats Misaki Doi in all-Japanese final in Hiroshima

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World Number 146 Nao Hibino beat Misaki Doi 6-3 6-2 in the all-Japanese final of Haa-Cupid Japan Open in Hiroshima.

 

Doi broke serve at 15 in the second game with a deep return, but she dropped her serve at love in the third game. Dou earned another break with a forehand to open up a 3-1 lead. Hibino pulled the break back in the fifth game, when Doi sent her backhand long.

Hibino reeled off nine consecutive games from 1-3 down to build up a 6-3 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games of the first set and two more breaks in the first and third games of the second set. Doi dropped her serve in six consecutive service games and hit 8 winners to 14 unforced errors. Doi pulled back one break in the fifth game. Hibino broke for the third time at deuce to win the second set 6-2.

Hibino claimed both the singles and the doubles titles at the same tournament for the first time in her career. She teamed up with Doi to clinch the doubles title with a 6-3 4-6 10-4 win over Christina McHale and Valeria Savinykh.

“I was so nervous today, so much more than the semifinals, but because I experienced being nervous in the semifinals, I knew what to expect. I was able to stay positive during the match today”, said Hibino.

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