Melbourne Scare A Blessing In Disguise For Naomi Osaka - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Latest news

Melbourne Scare A Blessing In Disguise For Naomi Osaka

The world No.3 says she ‘couldn’t ask for better preparation’ despite dropping a set in her latest match.

Published

on

Naomi Osaka (image via https://twitter.com/WTA)

It was a tough day at the office for Naomi Osaka on Wednesday after she was forced to battle back from a set down against world No.371 Katie Boulter at the Gippsland Trophy.

The three-time Grand Slam champion was on course for a shock defeat after dropping the opener in just 40 minutes before clawing her way back to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. During what was a roller-coaster match the Japanese No.1 effectively utilized the use of her serve as she won 86% of her first service points, as well as producing 33 winners. During the final two sets Osaka broke Boulter in five out of her eight service games.

I thought she played really well. I sort of had to raise my level, kind of go within myself,” said Osaka.
“I felt the entire first set and sort of halfway into the second set, I felt like I was on my back foot a lot. I felt like I was letting her dictate most of the balls. I never really settled that well. I think in the second and third set I was sort of able to find what I needed to do, sort of impose my pace onto the rally, as well.”

This week’s Melbourne event is Osaka’s final chance to tune up her game ahead of the Australian Open where she will be seeking to win the title for a second time after doing so in 2019. Unlike previous years players have less time to get matches under their belts ahead of the Grand Slam after going through a 14-day quarantine. For Osaka, she is drawing positives from her scare against Boulter.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better preparation match,” she stated. “I think it was very different from my first-round match. That’s something I couldn’t practice.’
“So I’m very happy with how it went actually. Even though it was long, I think there are a lot of things that I learned in this match. I feel like it’s nice to play someone like Cornet and then someone like Boulter because they have two different styles. That’s something I’m going to have to deal with in a Grand Slam setting, too.”

Besides playing in Melbourne, Osaka has also been spotted watching matches from the sidelines like she does at other tournaments. When asked by the press which live match stands out to her, she made reference to Andy Murray’s five-set win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the US Open last year. Two players whom she has great affection and respect towards.

“I just like watching matches in person because I feel like you can gauge the speed of the ball,you can sort of see the atmosphere, feel the conditions. I think, I don’t know, it’s just much more engaging than watching on TV,” she explained.

Next up for the second seed will be a quarter-final clash against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

In other matches at the Gippsland Trophy, Elina Svitolina was another player who was forced to overcome a stern scare. Taking on former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, the third seed rallied to a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2, win after more than two hours of play.

“It was a bit windy and it was really tough to find the rhythm, and it’s not easy to play against her because she’s going for a lot of shots and you have to really be on your toes,” Svitolina said.
“I was a bit flat in the first set and I wasn’t happy with the way I started. Afterwards, I was just trying to make an extra ball back and tried to make a difference on the balls I had a chance on,”
she added.

Svitolina, who could play Osaka in the semi-finals should they both reach that stage, faces Elise Mertens in her next match.

Latest news

Linda Noskova cruises past Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart to clinch her third top 10 win

Published

on

Linda Noskova cruised past number 8 seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-1 on her debut at this tournament in just 68 minutes to reach the second round at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

Noskova has claimed her third top 10 win this year. She beat Iga Swiatek in the third round of the Australian Open en route to her first Grand Slam quarter final and Maria Sakkari in Doha. 

Noskova raced out to a 5-1 lead with two breaks of serve in the first and third games. Ostapenko pulled one break back in the eighth game for 3-5. Noskova earned three set points in the ninth game with a return winner and converted her first chance to clinch the first set 6-3. 

Noskova broke twice in the second and fourth games to cruise through the second set 6-1. 

Noskova converted all her five break points. 

Marketa Vondrousova beat Donna Vekic 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 26 minutes to reach the second round. The reigning Wimbledon champion converted four of her eight break points. 

Vondrousova went down 2-4 down in the first round, but she came back by winning four games to clinch the first set 6-4. Vondrousova broke in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead. The Czech player earned three game points to lead 4-1, but Vekic pulled back on serve at 3-2 with a passing winner. Vondrousova earned another break to take a 5-3 lead after a drop-shot misfire by Vekic and served out the win with two consecutive aces. Vondrousova now leads 2-1 in her head-to-head matches against Vekic. 

Elise Mertens overcame Tatjana Maria 6-1 4-6 6-0 to set up the first clash of her career against world number 1 Iga Swiatek. 

“At the age of 22, it’s unbelievable what Swiatek has already achieved. Definitely in the future, she will achieve a lot more. She is a bit like an all-court, all-around player, so you don’t really find a lot of weaknesses. That’s why she is world number 1”, said Mertens. 

This year’s Abu Dhabi champion Jasmine Paolini cruised past her doubles partner Sara Errani 6-1 6-0 with three breaks of serve in each set. 

Continue Reading

Latest news

Rafael Nadal makes a winning come-back against Flavio Cobolli in Barcelona

Published

on

Rafael Nadal made a winning come-back by beating Italy’s Flavio Cobolli 6-2 6-3 in 1 hour and 26 minutes at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. The twelve-time Barcelona champion won his third match this year. 

Nadal is playing just his second tournament of the year and his first since last January, when he reached the quarter final in Brisbane. 

Nadal converted two of his eight break points and held four service games in the first set. The Spaniard held serve from 0-30 down in the first set. Cobolli faced two break points in the fourth game and saved them. The Italian player wasted a game point and was broken on Nadal’s third break point after a backhand error. Nadal consolidated the break by holding serve with a service winner to take a 4-1 lead. Cobolli faced four break points in the sixth game, but he saved three of these break points with service winners and held serve with a powerful serve to reduce the gap to 2-4. Nadal held serve at love in the seventh game with a service winner.

Cobolli missed a game point after Nadal’s backhand crosscourt winner, as he was serving to stay in the set in the eighth game. Nadal earned a set point after a forehand error from Cobolli and converted it, when the Italian player netted a forehand. 

Cobolli earned his first break point in the opening game of the second set. Nadal fended it off with a drop shot winner to hold serve after Cobolli’s forehand error. 

Nadal earned two break points, as Cobolli netted a backhand in the second game. The home star converted his break point to open up a 2-0 lead, as Cobolli hit a forehand long. Cobolli broke back in the third game after Nadal made a backhand error. 

Nadal broke serve again in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead, when Cobolli made a double fault. The former world number 1 player held his service game with a service winner in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Cobolli held serve to love in the sixth game with a forehand winner to reduce the gap to 2-4. Nadal held serve in the seventh game after a forehand error from Cobolli to open up a 5-2 lead forcing the Italian player to serve  to stay in the match. Cobolli held at love to cut the deficit to 3-5. 

Nadal served out the win with a hold at 15 after Cobolli’s backhand error. Cobolli made 41 unforced errors, including 27 in the opening set. 

Nadal set up a second round match against Alex De Minaur. The 92-time titlist leads 3-1 in his four head-to-head matches against his Australian opponent. 

“Every time it is more difficult and especially when you are at an advanced age. It makes things even tougher. I am going through tough moments but at the same time, when I am able to be on Tour for a few days and practise with the guys then be able to compete a little bit, it means a lot to me. It’s still enjoyable enough to keep going. I am happy to start with a victory without a doubt”, said Nadal.

Continue Reading

Latest news

Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

Published

on

Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending