Osaka loses WTA Finals opener

25 Octobre, 2018, 18:57 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Naomi Osaka of Japan returns a shot to Sloane Stephens of the United States during their women's singles match at the WTA tennis tournament in Singapore on Monday Oct. 22 2018

Japan's Naomi Osaka dropped her first red group match at the WTA Finals on Monday, falling 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to American Sloane Stephens in a battle between the last two U.S. Open champions.

Kerber's victory evened up her record at 1-1 in round robin play as Osaka slumped to her second straight defeat, leaving the U.S. Open champion needing to beat Bertens in her final group match to have any hope of advancing.

Clean hitting, a strong defence and cool composure saw world No. 6 Stephens prevail 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 over fourth-ranked Osaka in the first Red Group match of the season finale.

Osaka's serve deserted her in the final set as she was broken three times.

After trading early breaks, the match settled down as the pair enjoyed more success on serve, until Stephens, content to adopt a patient approach from the baseline, broke again in the seventh game when Osaka made a slew of unforced errors.

Osaka later acknowledged that her inconsistency was the difference in the match, with Stephens forcing her deep behind the baseline, which was not her usual playing style.

Osaka, who became the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam last month in NY, continually showed her frustration during the match. The 21-year-old was unable to close out the set on serve, blowing a forehand drive volley and dropping her racquet in disgust.

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With a slice of good fortune - Osaka opted not to challenge an overruled service call that would have made it 1-1 having lost serve in the previous game - Stephens raced through the third set to make a winning start in Singapore.

The victory is Bertens' tour-leading 11th over a Top 10 player this season, but she needed to do it the hard way after losing the opening set in just about 30 minutes. I don't really think you can do that against her, so definitely I think that's what made the difference. She needs to win in two or three sets to ensure her passage into the semifinals.

She said: "Obviously Kerber, I have played some really great matches against her, so looking forward to that".

"I just tried my best from the very first point of the final set".

"I think one thing I can be really proud of is that I turned that match around, that I played more aggressive, going a little bit out of my comfort zone to get a win". "Hopefully for the next match I can go out there, play a little bit more like how I want to play", she added.

Rising Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka has vowed to push through fatigue and atone for her error-strewn loss to Sloane Stephens in her WTA Finals debut in Singapore on Monday.

"I just competed really well".

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