‘I Was Thinking Too Much,’ Says Osaka After Madrid Exit

Japan’s Naomi Osaka returns the ball to Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich during their WTA Madrid Open round of 16 tennis match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 8, 2019.
Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP

 

 

Naomi Osaka admitted she “was thinking about too many things” in her 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 Madrid Open quarter-final loss to Belinda Bencic on Thursday.

World number one Osaka has claimed the last two majors at the US and Australian Opens and will be looking for a third in succession when she travels to Paris for the French Open later this month.

However, she admitted that knowing her top WTA ranking could possibly be in danger after failing to reach the Madrid semi-finals might have played on her mind mid-match on Thursday.

“I was just thinking about too many things. I wanted to win this match so much because she’d beaten me before — I didn’t want to lose twice in a row,” said the 21-year-old.

“People have been telling me if I get to the semis here, I can stay number one.

“I wanted to do that but I was thinking about it while I was playing, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing.”

The Japanese star, who will lose the top ranking if Simona Halep takes the Madrid title, will now head to Rome next week for the final tune-up prior to the May 26 start of Roland Garros.

“I’m really happy as my serve was my biggest concern coming in,” she said after losing for the second time in two months to Switzerland’s Bencic who also triumphed in Indian Wells.

“I wanted to play this tournament and I’m going to play Rome, too.

“There’s a lot of happy things to take from this because I lost in the first round last year so anything is an improvement, honestly.”

Bencic, a former top 10 player before injury struck several seasons ago, is now back in the top 20 and determined to lift her standing further.

“Of course I’m very happy,” the number 18 said. “I’m in the semi-finals, I beat the world number one and I turned the match around.”

She will have a chance to go further on Friday as she plays two-time tournament winner Halep, who booked her last-four-spot with a 7-5, 7-5 win against Australian Ashleigh Barty.

Bencic defeated former number one Halep on her way to the Dubai hardcourt trophy in February.

“It’s always long rallies with her. I don’t think that’s going to change,” said Bencic.

“But this is a different surface (than Dubai), a different city, different conditions.

“I’ll just have to try to play the same as I always do and focus on my game, focus on myself.”

US Open: Konta Beats Bencic To Qualify For Fourth Round

Johanna-Konta-Belinda-Bencic-TennisBritish Tennis player, Johanna Konta, has defeated her Swiss opponent, Belinda Bencic to qualify for the fourth round of the US Open.

The 25-year-old put up an amazing performance to beat Bencic 6-2 6-1 on Saturday in New York.

Despite the health issues that affected the 13th seed during the second round, Konta knocked out her 19-year-old challenger in 52 minutes.

She served with pace and accuracy from the start to keep her opponent on the back foot and a run of seven unanswered games gave her complete control.

She did not give away a single break point, won 19 out of 20 points on her first serve and hit 29 winners to Bencic’s nine.

“I feel overwhelmingly happy.

“I felt I did a good job playing the match at hand and I focused all my energies into this match.

“I was happy how I dealt with things,” she told BBC.

Konta would contend with Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova in the next round.

She had reached the fourth round in 2015 and made the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

Andy Murray Through To Australian Open Final

Andy MurrayAndy Murray has reached his fifth Australian Open final after defeating 13th seed Milos Raonic.

Murray needed five sets to beat the 25-year-old Canadian.

The 28-year-old Scot prevailed 4-6 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 in a gruelling four-hour contest.

He will meet defending champion Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.

Murray, who has been a runner-up in the Australian Open four times, said of the epic battle, “It was tough in that third set. In the tie-break he didn’t miss a single serve and it is frustrating when you don’t get a say in the points.

“He definitely slowed down in the fifth set, which was unfortunate for him. It would have been nice to have played a more competitive fifth set. The fourth set, I thought he was still moving well. You just have to focus.”

About his chances against Djokovic on Sunday, he said, “A lot of things are important against the best players in the world. You can’t do anything poorly.

“Novak’s played extremely well, in his last couple of matches in particular. Hopefully this time it can be a different result.”

 

Australian Open: Djokovic, Federer, Serena Through To Semis

Australian OpenWorld number one, Novak Djokovic, is through to the last four of the Australian Open after dismissing Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

The 28-year-old swept past his Japanese opponent 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in 2 hours 7 minutes to reach his 29th grand slam semi-final and sixth at Melbourne Park.

Up next for Djokovic as he guns for a 6th title is 17-time grand slam champion, Roger Federer.

The duo will meet for the 45th time on Thursday with their ATP head2head series balanced at 22 wins apiece.

World number three, Roger Federer advanced to his 12th Australian Open semi-final with an efficient 7-6 6-2 6-4 victory over sixth seed Tomas Berdych.

Federer was pressed hard in the opening set, taking it in a tie-break after swapping service breaks with Berdych, before the Swiss won the important points in the second set to take control of the match.

The Czech broke early in the third set before 17-times grand slam winner Federer broke back in the third game to seal it in two hours, 16 minutes.

Serena and Radwanska Through To Semis

In the women’s event, reigning champion, Serena Williams, advanced to the last four.

Williams edged out fifth seed Maria Sharapova for the 18th match in a row with a 6-4 6-1 victory.

Williams has reached the last four at Melbourne Park on six previous occasions and gone on to win the title every time.

Agnieszka Radwanska, will face Williams in the semis, after beating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3.

Australian Open: Federer, Djokovic Through To 4th Round

Australian OpenRoger Federer has recorded his 300th grand slam match win to safely advance to the 4th round at the Australian Open.

The 17-time major winner and third seed won 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4 in two hours and 40 minutes under the closed roof on Rod Laver Arena against Grigor Dimitrov, and will face Belgium’s 15th seed David Goffin in the next round.

Federer becomes the first man to win 300 grand slam matches.

World number 1, Novak Djokovic is also through to the 4th round of the Australian Open after battling past Italy’s Andres Seppi 6-1 7-5 7-6.

Djokovic, who is gunning for his 6th title was however made to work hard for his victory after his Italian opponent found his feet in the second and third sets.

Also making it into the second week at Melbourne Park is Tomas Berdych who overcame a third set scare to beat Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

In other games, Roberto Bautista Agut beat Marin Cilic  6-4, 7-6, 7-5, while  Japan’s Kei Nishikori beat Guillermo Garcia Lopez 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Serena, Sharapova Also Through

Defending champion, Serena Williams, also had an easy entrance to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The world number one recorded a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina on Friday.

Playing a record 80th main draw match at Melbourne Park against an 18-year-old on her first trip down under, Williams was merciless under the lights of Rod Laver Arena, blasting 24 winners and winning all 10 points coming into the net.

Williams, bidding for seventh title at Melbourne Park and a 22nd grand slam trophy, faces another unseeded Russian in Margarita Gasparyan in the next round.

Former champion, Maria Sharapova, recovered from losing a second-set tiebreak to put away unseeded American Lauren Davis 6-1 6-7 6-love and set up an intriguing fourth round match with rising Swiss talent Belinda Bencic.

The win was 28-year-old Sharapova’s 600th on tour.