No More Negative Feelings For Naomi Osaka As She Eases Into Australian Open Fourth Round - UBITENNIS
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No More Negative Feelings For Naomi Osaka As She Eases Into Australian Open Fourth Round

The world No.3 admits that she wasn’t entirely happy with her latest match despite only dropping five games.

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

Japan’s Naomi Osaka illustrated why she is one of the favourites to win the Australian Open title with a one-sided triumph over former quarter-finalist Ons Jabeur in the third round.

The third seed eased to a 6-3, 6-2, win over the Tunisian in just under 80 minutes on Friday with the help of eight aces and 26 winners. Throughout her latest clash she dropped serve only once in the first set as she broke her opponent four times. However, a critical Osaka admits that she isn’t completely happy about her latest performance at the Grand Slam.

“My biggest thing I wanted to focus on was my serve and my return because those are the things that I can control,” she explained. “I don’t know what would happen during the point, but I do know that I can control if I can get the return back and I can control how I start off my serves. So I was just basing my entire plan around that.’
“For me, I felt like I wasn’t playing that well, my unforced error rate was probably really high, but I’m really happy with how I fought.”

Osaka’s unforced error tally in her latest match was 28 which is just five behind Jabeur. Furthermore, her second service winning rate was just 48% which is her worst number so far in the tournament.

The latest showdown at Melbourne Park was one which the former world No.1 eagerly anticipated after never previously playing Jabeur before. Taking on a player for the first time can be daunting for some, but Osaka says she takes it in her stroll and no longer enter matches with what she described as ‘negative feelings.’ A sign of growing mental maturity from the 23-year-old.

I don’t really have negative feelings going into matches anymore. I was kind of more excited than anything to play her because I always watch her play on TV, and it looks really fun,” she said.
“And for me, I feel like just having that variety in the game, I’m glad that everyone doesn’t play the same. For me, I wasn’t negative going into the match, I was more excited.”

There will be no time for any sense of negativity for Osaka entering her next match where she faces another former world No.1 in the shape of Garbine Muguruza. The Spaniard reached the final of the Australian Open last year, as well as the Yarra Valley Classic last week.

Osaka hasn’t played the Spaniard on the Tour before but has practiced with her a couple years ago. As a young player she recalls being impressed by the rise of Muguruza who has won two Grand Slam titles.

“I’ve watched her like win Wimbledon and win the French Open when I was younger, and I’ve always wanted to have the chance to play her. So for me, this is really exciting,” she previewed.
“Muguruza might be a bit more like my taste. Like she’s not as unpredictable as Ons is. But I’m just basing this on like the previous matches I’ve watched.”

Osaka, who won the Australian Open in 2019, is through to the fourth round for only the third time in her career.

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

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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. 

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

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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.

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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

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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. 

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