Osaka vs Andreescu Epic Clash in Beijing

The two best players in the world collided today in the Beijing quarterfinals but this match was more suited to be a major final. For certain, Andreescu and Osaka will contest major finals and semifinals in the future years.

Today’s clash of WTA titans exceeded our glorious expectations. Both desperately wanted to win today and both played superb tennis to prove their desire.

Andreescu was better early, breaking Osaka from a 40-love hole and then raced to a 5-1 lead that eventually became 5-5 after a sudden Osaka fight back. Osaka led 30-love in the 5-5 game also but then Andreescu reeled off eight straight points (I believe) to take the opening set.

Andreescu again achieved a break for 3-1 but Osaka rallied again by raising her level and cutting down errors. Osaka won it 6-3 and her superior phsyicality and serving seemed to be the narrow margin of difference between the two champions.

What Andreescu lacks in size and serve power she compensates with more variety in her shots and perhaps slightly better movement. Both are wondrous defenders. Osaka broke at 4-4 and served it out, saving one break point.

Osaka seemed extra motivated by the threat of Andreescu who without a doubt is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of Osaka winning many more majors. Osaka knew she had to subdue Andreescu’s soaring confidence and put her in her place and that’s exactly what she did today, summoning the best tennis we have seen from her since Australia.

Andreescu also got a taste today of her main challenger to WTA supremacy. The Canadian powerhouse has been so dominant winning 17 matches in a row she confidently said she had forgotten how to lose. Osaka gave her a valuable lesson today – and a reminder that the journey to tennis glory and superstardom must pass through the dominion of the Japanese juggernaut.

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  • Jon King · October 7, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Scopp, Gauff is in a difficult position as far as reaching expectations. Her father and then herself have been saying in interviews even years ago in juniors that she was going to be “better than Serena”. The problem with that is that Serena started over 20 years ago and the women have grown consistently bigger and stronger over those 20 years. Many more matches take a physical toll now than they did 20 years ago. The field gets better every few years and its much harder for any one player to be dominant.

    Also, prime Serena, especially the first 10 years of her career, had a nice physical advantage, she had 20-40 pounds more muscle, while being just as fast, as her opponents. Gauff has no such physical advantage over her opponents. If anything, her legs are fairly skinny compared to many players she will face.

    So from the beginning, Gauff has zero chance of having Serena’s success or anything remotely close. Its one thing to be confident, but its another to make boasts that you physically can not meet. Serena, LeBron James….they had physical advantages, while Cori is no bigger or stronger or faster than another 100-150 ladies on tour.

    Then besides the physical thing, she has a huge flaw in her game that opponent’s can go after now that she has been scouted. Her forehand grip is too extreme and can be beaten down with deep, hard pace.

    Lastly, as discussed before, she matured early. At age 12.5-13 when we saw her, she was pretty much the same size she is now. So she is not going to get any bigger or faster, she is what she will be.

    Her best case is too gain experience, shore up her game, and go out there and compete. If things go right for her, she can battle into the top 10 some day. Winning a major would be great, she certainly has a chance to get to that level with experience.

    But this hype stuff as if she is the next Serena or Venus is nothing but that….hype with no basis in the realities of how competitive and physical today’s game is and the fact that she has no Serena like advantage when she takes the court.

  • Andrew Miller · October 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Problem isn’t a low profile coach. It’s that the player, Tiafoe, has been slumping on and off since the early part of the clay season. His coach should expand the coaching staff as a nod to reality. If he doesn’t Tiafoe’s agent should do so.

    He started off the year very strong – quarters in Australia. He had a nice result in Miami, his best result with the appointment of Evenden as coach. His early clay results were promising and Madrid, a faster clay tournament, was good too.

    Since early May, Tiafoe by all accounts has done badly. He has a nice win against Monfils, but between early May and Madrid and now he has been lucky to get past the second round of any tournament. Sometimes it’s only been by defaults such as Winston Salem.

    There is no question Tiafoe has had a bad year since Madrid. Australia was good and he should be proud of a fine result. As of early May his strategy seemed to go well. Now it is not and the bottom has fallen out. He has played badly for many tournaments in a row.

  • Hartt · October 7, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Bonaventure got the LL spot in Linz, so Gauff is out of the tourney. I think it is useful for the youngster to have a bit of a reality check now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Andrew, but Uncle Toni was smart enough to subcontract other coaches to come in and help develop Rafa. Uncle Toni was far from the only coach Rafa had in his teens but from the outside view, he gets all the credit.

  • Andrew Miller · October 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Scoop, we’re on the same page. The bad results speak for themselves and beg for a new voice. If Tiafoe doesn’t force the issue someone like his agent should. When a player doesn’t do well agents don’t do well, and Tiafoe losing first round and second round doesn’t spell endorsements.

    Sometimes things have to go very badly before a player makes a change that helps. I think a lot of things are important to Tiafoe personally, he’s not far from his original coaches. I can’t speak for Evenden, but how does he justify bad results? He can’t pull the old “bad draws” thing because Tiafoe’s draws have been fine.

    Evenden should face the music. His player isn’t where he should be.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Jon, Did she and her father really say that on the record? That’s crazy talk, and delusional too. And worse it creates too much pressure and expectation on a kid. Still worse, it gives every other player EXTRA incentive to beat her. Despite that slip of the lip, I like what I see from her and hear from her. Smart, mature, nice kid. Very nice game for 15, she’s further advanced in her career than Serena was at 15. She will only get better with experience. Every player has flaws in their games.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Andrew, it’s time for a change for Team Tiafoe. Evenden should be demoted to water boy or travel companion.

  • Andrew Miller · October 7, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Scoop, maybe Tiafoe’s agent will read the TP comment board and look into this. I agree the guy needs a different voice. He’s 18-22 or sub .500 for the year with zero evidence he will have a winning record this year unless he hits the challengers hard this month and next month, and his ranking will likely double 2018, when he broke top thirty (he’ll be lucky to be lower than top sixty by next week).

    Anyways. It’s rare for a player to go with a new coach and go from a sugar high into a nosedive. It may not seem like it because Tiafoe was until recently top fifty and still has the image of being a young exciting player which he is.

    But when you look at his stats they are very bad from Madrid onwards including a bad U.S. hardcourt summer swing.

    Sorry but this may have to hit rock bottom . If I were Tiafoe I’d look at my US competitors and notice Opelka made a semifinal last week and Fritz was the best young U.S. player this year, and notice Tommy Paul behind me gaining ground. I’d notice that and I’d notice I just lost matches in straight sets to Zverev and to Shapovalov on a surface that I love.

    Tiafoe should be upset here. He should be like wow I am behind. He should have an Osaka moment.

    But that’s like expecting Kerber to wake up and smell the coffee.

  • catherine · October 7, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Andrew – bit different for Angie, she’s 31 with 3 GSs and for all we know may have decided that the game is no longer worth the candle – whatever plans she has for the future she’s currently keeping to herself.

    Scoop – it’s true that from the time Gauff was around 12 or 13 she was talking about being a future GOAT, and this was being echoed by people around her.

    My only reservation about Coco, as I’ve said before, is her age. I think she should have waited until she was 16 before going to W’don and US Open. Her results there ware really puffed up and now, as Hartt says, she’s dealing with a new reality.

  • Andrew Miller · October 7, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Catherine, just expressing it’s hard for a player to acknowledge or make changes that are needed, even when it’s obvious. The men’s and women’s tours are littered with examples. We’ve gone over this over and over and over and over because it’s present in every player’s life.

    Osaka is unstoppable until suddenly she’s not. Her coaching changed considerably.

    Muguruza can’t buy a coach and treats them very badly last time I checked?! No mystery, her results have been awful. No one wants in on this train wreck.

    Now, Tiafoe. He gets a career best result in Australia then dumps his coaches and commits to an unknown that was part of his team. Maybe a hitting partner? He maintains his results then they go off a cliff and suddenly is is below .500 for the year and would be even lower below .500 if we factored in three or four matches of one set only, defaults before the US Open where players wanted more prep time for the event.

    Nothing new. Changes obvious to an everyday fan are not obvious to a player, who gets a lot of sunshine from their coaches etc, agents etc

  • Andrew Miller · October 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Stefanki to his credit sugarcoats nothing. He’d call it straightforwardly: “Player, you must get better”.

    That’s it. Not you need a new racquet. Not just play your game. Not nice try you almost had him. None of that, no excuses, no sunshine, no mercy.

  • Andrew Miller · October 7, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    The hated Carling Bassett, who I like a lot, basically said about Andreescu, that Andreescu should keep doing what she’s doing until it’s proven to not be holding up well. I think that’s a good strategy for players.

    It’s not worth feeling that you have to constantly improve and improve and improve . But a player should figure out right away if their strategy no longer works as well. It’s good advice. Nadal modified his game to win Wimbledon – he’d made two Wimbledon finals and lost both times. If you use Bassett’s logic, the third time he needed to do something different. And he absolutely did.

  • catherine · October 8, 2019 at 2:06 am

    Hated Carling Bassett ? I never hated her as a player and wasn’t aware that anyone did. Maybe I just wasn’t listening.

    The difference with Angie, which is what I meant, is that she’s at the end of her career and seems to be in confusion (denial ? horrible word) because the opportunity for change is really diminishing day by day. A lot of players, those not living in fantasy worlds, just stop.

  • catherine · October 8, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Gauff is in the main draw in Linz – thought they’d find some way to get her there – she’s currently beating Voegele. I suppose another LL spot popped up.

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