Naomi Osaka To Start Comeback At Brisbane International, Murray To Play Men's Tournament - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka To Start Comeback At Brisbane International, Murray To Play Men’s Tournament

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Naomi Osaka (@AustralianOpen on Twitter)

Naomi Osaka’s 15-month break from professional tennis will come to an end during the first week of January after signing up to play a WTA 500 event in Australia. 

The four-time Grand Slam champion will begin her comeback at the Brisbane International which will get underway on December 31st. Osaka hasn’t played a professional match since September 2022 after taking time away to give birth to her first child, a baby girl called Shai. It will be her fourth appearance in Brisbane where she has twice reached the semi-final stage in 2019 and 2020. 

“I am really excited about getting back out on court and competing. I always love starting my season in Brisbane and can’t wait to return,” said Osaka.
“The Brisbane International is such a great tournament and will set me up for a brilliant comeback this summer.”

Earlier this week, one of Osaka’s coaches said the Japanese player was eager to chase after more Grand Slam titles and reclaim the world No.1 ranking position in the future. Performance coach Florian Zitzelsberge told tennis.com that work has been done to make the tennis star more of a defensive player on the court to fare better with the current level of women’s tennis. 

“She’s obviously a great offense player, but I think things have changed in the game over the last half-decade where defense is getting more and more important,” said Zitzelsberger.
We’re working to make Naomi into a player who can transition more effectively from defense to offense. That way, even if she’s getting pushed into a defensive position, she can still strike an offensive shot.”

Joining Osaka in the 48-player women’s draw in Brisbane will be two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian won the tournament in 2009 and 2016. 

Murray among trio named for men’s tournament

In the men’s draw, Andy Murray will be another player to start their season at the event. The former world No.1 has experienced mixed results on the Tour in recent weeks and has admitted that he is ‘really not enjoying tennis’ following his exit from the Paris Masters where he led Alex de Minaur 5-2 in the deciding set before losing. 

“It’s great to see the Brisbane International back and I am really looking forward to returning to Queensland this summer,” Murray said. 
“I have great memories of winning the title in 2012 and 2013 and I would love to lift the trophy again for a third time in Brisbane.”

World No.10 Holger Rune will also be playing. The Dane has reached three Grand Slam quarter-finals and won four ATP titles so far in his career. However, he has yet to contest a Tour-level final on Australian soil. 2017 champion Grigor Dimitrov is another to confirm his participation in the event. 

“We are really excited to welcome Naomi Osaka, Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka, Holger Rune and Grigor Dimitrov to Brisbane in 2024 and know the atmosphere of watching these top players will be thrilling this summer,” Brisbane International Tournament Director Cam Pearson said.
“Victoria, Andy and Grigor are all past Brisbane International champions, so to have them confirmed this early shows their commitment to the tournament and how much players love coming back to Queensland. 
“We are also thrilled to have one of the world’s best young players, Holger Rune, confirmed for the Brisbane International. The 20-year-old has had an incredible year, reaching world No.4 in August and next week has his eyes set on winning the 2023 ATP Finals, under new coach Boris Becker.”

The 2024 Brisbane International will have a combined prize money pool of AUS$3.1 million. Matches are scheduled to take place between 31 December and 7 January. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Sebastian Ofner in Barcelona to extend his winning streak

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Sebastian Ofner 6-4 7-5 at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell to extend his winning streak to seven consecutive matches after claiming his third title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week. 

Tsitsipas earned an immediate break in the first game. Ofner broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Tsitsipas earned his second break  in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and served out the first set 6-4 with a hold at 15. 

Tsitsipas broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner won three consecutive games with two breaks of serve to take a 5-3 lead. Tsitsipas came back by winning four consecutive games with two breaks of serve to seal the second set 7-5.

Tsitsipas has a record of 17 wins to 5 defeats in Barcelona. The Greek player reached three finals at this tournament in 2018, 2021 and 2023.  

“I feel pretty good, but it is still early in the tournament. The conditions here are very different to Monte-Carlo and I felt it today when I was playing. My job is to adapt and to ensure I can bring my A game again in Barcelona this week. Today was a great test to see where I stand. I am hoping to keep on improving and getting good wins like this under my belt”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitssipas set up a third round match against Roberto Carballes Baena, who beat Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Musetti saved three break points in the first game of the opening set. The Italian player earned two break points with a backhand down the line. Musetti saved two break points in the seventh game. Both players went on serve un the 12th game when Carballes Baena saved a set point. Carballes Baena went up a 5-1 lead with two mini-breaks in the tie-break. Musetti won three consecutive points to reduce to 4-5. Carballes Baena won the final two points to take the tie-break 7-4. 

Carballes Baena converted his fourth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Musetti broke back in the fifth game. Carballes Baena saved a break point in the sixth game. The Spanish player sealed the win with a break on his second match. 

Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Casper Ruud beat Alexandre Muller 6-3 6-4 to claim his 25th tour-level win of the season. Ruud has drawn level with Jannik Sinner for the most wins in 2024 on the ATP Tour. 

Ruud set up a third round match against Jordan Thompson, who beat Jaume Munar 6-4 2-4 6-4. Roberto Bautista Agut beat Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-4 6-1 to claim his milestone 400th match win on the ATP Tour. Bautista Agut set up a third round match against Cameron Norrie. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut wins his milestone 400th match on the ATP Tour

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Roberto Bautista Agut came back from one set down to beat Australian Open doubles finalist Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-3 6-1 after 2 hours and 1 minute at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. 

Vavassori earned an early break in the first game. The Italian player earned three break points in the seventh game, but Bautista Agut saved them. The Spanish player broke straight back in the eighth game. Vavassori broke again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and saved two break points before closing out the first set 6-4 on his second set point. 

Both players went on serve in the first four games of the second set. Vavassori earned a break point in the fifth game, but he did not convert it. Bautista Agut broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face any break points to win the second set 6-3. 

Bautista Agut broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1. 

Bautista Agut reached the 400th milestone win on the ATP Tour.  The Spanish player has become the 13th active player with at least 400 ATP Tour wins. He achieved 20 wins against members of the top 10, ten wins against top 5 players and four against world number 1s. Bautista Agut is one of the nine players, who have beaten Novak Djokovic as World number 1 more than twice. 

“For me it’s just a number. The important thing is that I have done great work over these years, that I have a very consistent career, a career that I can feel proud of “, said Bautista Agut. 

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Martina Trevisan beats Naomi Osaka to reach the second round in Rouen

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Martina Trevisan upset former world number 1 Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-2 in the opening round of the Open Capfinances Rouen Metropole. 

Osaka has played her first clay-court match since Roland Garros 2022, where she lost to Amanda Anisimova. The Japanese player has not won a match on clay since beating Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the Madrid Mutua Open in 2022. She helped Japan beat Kazakhstan in the Billie Jean King Cup. 

Trevisan reached the quarter final in 2020 and the semifinal in 2022 at Roland Garros. The former world number 18 won her only title in Rabat in 2022. She reached the quarter finals of the Zaragoza ITF 100 tournament. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games. Osaka earned two break points at 3-2 and three more chances at 4-3, but she was not able to convert them. Trevisan broke serve in the ninth game following a series of forehand errors. 

Trevisan broke twice in the third and seventh games and served out the win on her first match point. 

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva beat Elina Avanesyan 7-5 6-4 in 1 hour and 41 minutes to reach her second quarter final of 2024. 

Andreeva went up a break in the seventh game, but Avanesyan pulled back on serve to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the second time in the 11th game to win the second set 7-5. Andreeva broke in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Avanesyan converted her third break-back point in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Andreeva broke serve at love in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Avanesyan broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the third time in the ninth game and served out the win on her second match point after saving two break points. 

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