Mar/19

22

Osaka Prevails At Miami Open

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By Scoop Malinowski
Naomi Osaka was forced to work but overcame a stiff challenge by Belgian veteran qualifier Yanina Wickmayer, 6-0 6-7(3) 6-1 to advance to the Miami Open third round.

The mid-afternoon heavyweight slugfest featured fourteen aces by Osaka, against only one double fault, and her signature scintillating baseline precision highlighted by 51 winners.

“Of course I’m really happy that I was able to win the match,” Osaka said to a press room of fifteen reporters. “It was really hard for me, I think, emotionally in the second set because I just started thinking about winning, not exactly the things I could do in order to win.

“So, yeah, I had a bit of a dip. She was also playing really well. I think between the second and third set I tried to breathe and regroup.”

Wearing a light blue adidas sweatshirt and a pink cap, Osaka seemed pleased with the win. “For me, yeah, when I close out my emotions, I don’t really say c’mon and stuff any more,” Osaka said. “I just feel like, I don’t know, I’m a shell. I just keep thinking about the next point. I don’t really celebrate too much if I win a point. I don’t really react if I lose a point. I just try to keep it moving, so…”

“I think I do say c’mon if I feel like it’s really tough. But for the most part not really because I think that I get really hyper quickly if I start bouncing around and stuff, so I try not to do that.”

Osaka talked about why and how she hired Jermaine Jenkins as coach. He was the former hitting partner for Venus Williams. Osaka said she had never talked to Jenkins before – “I have a hard time talking to anybody” – but she heard good things about him for years. He likes him because he’s very positive and he tells her to believe in herself because of all the hard work she’s done.

Next up for Osaka is nemesis Su-Wei Hsieh, who pushed the 21 year old Japanese woman to the brink of elimination in Australia in the third round, before ultimately prevailing 57 64 62. The 27th-seeded Hsieh defeated American Alison Riske 6-2, 7-5.

Osaka has vivid memories of the confrontation with Hsieh in Melbourne and is ready for another dangerous duel.

“That match, whew. She’s unpredictable,” Osaka said of Hsieh. “She can hit winners from anywhere it seems like. She has a slice, dropshot. Feels like she has everything. For me it’s tough to play her because I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s that unpredictability that I think makes her play really well and beat all the top people. Yeah, it should be really tough tomorrow.”

Osaka also talked about her sister Mari’s match yesterday, a straight set loss to Whitney Osuigwe on an outside court. She wanted to go watch but her mom said seating was not suitable for her to go so she missed it. Osaka said she didn’t talk much with Mari about the match – she wanted to five her space – but that she sounds in good spirits today.

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20 comments

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 3:46 am

    I’m thinking Osaka will prevail this time.

    Djokovic says the stadium court is like playing indoors – no wind and no sun after around 1 pm. Very different conditions from the outside courts.

    Late result – Svitolina went out tamely. She can’t seem to keep her level up for more than a few matches now and is flattered by her no 5 ranking.

    What’s happening to Zverev ?

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 5:21 am

    Saw a rumour that Sascha B is going to work with Mladenovic. Can this be true ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2019 at 8:20 am

    There is Sun after 1 on stadium, it sneaks in on the side, Serena was bothered by it yesterday later in afternoon. Wang played very well to slay svitolina who may be dealing with weakened leg syndrome. Like boxers.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2019 at 8:21 am

    I’ve heard bajin name pop up in another rumor. Just a matter of time.

  • Hartt · March 23, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Despite a lull in the 2nd set, Félix won against Fucsovics, taking the decider 6-0. Marton was complaining throughout the match, mainly about line calls, and then he caused a long delay. I’m not sure what that was about; Felix looked bemused at first but then started to seem annoyed.

    FAA will play Hurkacz next, one of the few times he has an opponent who is just a few years older. Hubi played very well against Thiem, or did in the games I saw before the coverage switched to Novak’s match. Félix vs Hubi should be a terrific match if both players are at their best.

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Caroline Garcia bt Julia G 6-0 7-5. Dispiriting performance from Julia – serve off, everything off and Garcia took full advantage. Julia didn’t look well – maybe the heat didn’t help.Kerber had an MTO yesterday to have her thigh wrapped and the betting gossip is she will retire v Bianca. If she happened to have been watching Julia just now her spirits would not have been lifted.

    Scoop – I hate rumours. If it’s a bad story and true then we should know about it. Otherwise just harms people who may not be involved or to blame.

  • Hartt · March 23, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Shapo just won an entertaining match over Dan Evans, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Evans played pretty well, but Denis is a more skillful player, and that showed as the match went on.

    There were two aspects of Denis’ game that were especially encouraging. After making too many UFEs Shapo began to be more patient, waiting for a good opportunity before going for the winner. At one point he was hitting too many shots into the net, so he started using more top spin, and that made a big difference. The other was his net play. He won 28/37 points at the net, and hit some very nice BH volleys, along with a couple tough half volleys.

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Scoop – I’m not saying I don’t consume gossip just as greedily as the next person, of course I do, it’s just in this particular case there are so many stories flying around, potentially damaging for several people, that I’d rather stick to facts (if there are any) – I don’t know where the Mladenovic titbit came from, or if it’s true – things online you have to take with several truck loads of salt.

    I’ve just read, for example, a comment on Youtube about a very prominent player which would explain a lot about their character and performance. I’ve no idea if it’s true but a large number of fans and followers would have seen it. In times past gossip about the famous, and infamous, was carefully managed. Now, with the internet, there are no limits and the whitewashed reputation of individuals is frequently exposed as a lie. It’s frustrating not to be able to write honestly about someone but you have to follow the rules if we don’t want to end up in court. I don’t think anonymity is any defence either.

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    This is not gossip – Serena has withdrawn because of a knee injury.

    Osaka on her way to beat Hsieh.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    No surprise at all that Serena has withdrawn. It’s showing now that after very physical tough matches, she is not ready to play the next day. The joints hurt, there is no bounce in the legs. tennis is hard enough when a player is fresh and healthy, when a player is tired and sore and stiff with old tired legs, forget it. I suspect this is what Serena is coping with now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Boy did I hear an interesting rumor about a famous gay major champion icon who used to live in Dallas who had a very brief affair with a famous Dallas Cowboy. Later 70s. Say no more.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    FLO was outclassed by his old pal Dimitrov, SS. Didn’t see Agassi there.

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Well – another brilliant win by Hsieh over Osaka in 3 sets. S-W is truly an extraordinary player.

    With Serena, Osaka out – Bianca must be strong favourite.

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Scoop – that’s VERY old gossip and actually I never believed a word of it. Put about when the famous major champion icon needed a bit of favourable publicity.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    A photog here saw them in the car together. No reason to lie after all these years. Seems totally credible.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 23, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Su Wei Hsieh is the all time magician of tennis, move over Santoro.

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Don’t tell me it’s a coincidence – player gets a spread in Vogue and the next thing is they’re bundled out of the tournament. Naomi’s exit was a bit more dignified than Kerber’s at AO but the Curse of the Glossies never fails.

    The way Hsieh had Naomi running around on the last couple of points there was truly funny. I couldn’t stop laughing. Talk about a puppet on a string 🙂

  • catherine · March 23, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    They were acting Scoop 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Spoke to wta insider David Cain and he confirmed Sasha was with Kiki this week but only as family friend, consulting. Nothing official.

  • catherine · March 24, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Thanks Scoop – don’t know if Kiki has a coach actually. But nice to hear Sascha is around the game and I hope he gets a real job soon. Maybe he’s taking his time.

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