Osaka Beats World Number One, Barty To Win China Open

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a return during the women’s singles final against Ashleigh Barty of Australia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 6, 2019. NOEL CELIS / AFP

 

Naomi Osaka won a second tournament on the spin as she fought back from a set down to defeat world number one, Ashleigh Barty in the China Open final on Sunday.

The Japanese two-time Grand Slam champion emerged victorious after 110 minutes in chilly Beijing, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

On Saturday, after defeating holder Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals, the 21-year-old called her own serve “confusing”.

And so it was in the sixth game when Osaka conjured up a double fault, then an ace, then another double fault against Australia’s Barty.

The world number four, victorious in her home Pan Pacific Open last month, was broken when she planted a forehand into the net.

The former number one appeared mildly uncomfortable with her shoulder, touching it and rotating it between points.

Barty, 23, who had strapping down her left calf, wrapped up the first set in 34 minutes and frustration was creeping in for the Australian Open champion Osaka.

But much of the crowd in Beijing was pro-Osaka and they were cheering when she broke Barty to move 4-2 up on the way to winning the second set.

“Basically I was telling myself to keep fighting even though my attitude was really trash. This is a final, I’m really privileged to be here in the first place, so keep fighting.”

Osaka was in control now and broke Barty — who five years ago took a rest from tennis and played cricket — in the first game of the deciding set on the way to victory.

This was a third title of 2019 for Osaka and fifth in her short career.

Osaka Sweeps Into China Open Final

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a return during her women’s singles semi-final match against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 5, 2019. GREG BAKER / AFP

 

Naomi Osaka said that she had just two hours’ sleep before crushing title-holder Caroline Wozniacki to sweep into the China Open final on Saturday. 

The 21-year-old Japanese will play world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia in Sunday’s championship match in Beijing — and will hope to have had a bit more rest.

The Australian Open champion said that she was so hyped up after defeating Bianca Andreescu in three thrilling sets on Friday night that she barely slept.

“I went to sleep at 4:00am, I woke up at 6:00am, so solid two hours, I can’t really sleep after my matches,” said Osaka.

“I just feel like my adrenaline’s up more during the tougher matches so it makes it harder to sleep.”

“It’s definitely been a bit crazy time-wise,” she added, having returned to the court to face Wozniacki less than 24 hours after defeating Andreescu.

But if the two-time Grand Slam champion was exhausted, it did not show in a 6-4, 6-2 victory in 84 minutes against the Dane.

Osaka held off all seven break points she faced against Wozniacki.

The world number four showed flashes of irritation as she let Wozniacki off the hook at 3-3 in the first set, tossing her racquet on the floor.

But in the ninth game, the pressure on the 19th-ranked Wozniacki told, Osaka grabbing the break of service with an arrowing forehand.

Osaka, like Wozniacki a former number one, broke her opponent at the start of the second set to underline her superiority, before racing to a thumping win.

The Japanese insisted that she was the underdog against Barty.

They have played each other three times before with the 23-year-old Australian winning twice.

Barty said that she has “never been happier” on and off the court after she saved match point against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in their semi-final.

The French Open champion committed 52 unforced errors but still just about emerged victorious in a nail-biting 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7) triumph.

Barty, who surged to the top of the rankings in June, said there had been “massive growth” in her mental fortitude when she faces crunch points.

“That’s gone hand-in-hand with adding some new people to my team, trying to work with them behind the scenes,” Barty, who five years ago took a break from tennis and played cricket, said.

“Not just for my tennis — it’s for my life, my health and well being, as well, which has been the best thing.

“I have never been happier off the court, never been happier on the court.”

 Thiem vs Tsitsipas 

Top seed Dominic Thiem fought back from a set down to reach the final in the men’s draw — and also book his place at the season-ending ATP Finals.

The Austrian will play Stefanos Tsitsipas after beating Russia’s Karen Khachanov 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes.

The 21-year-old Tsitsipas triumphed 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 in a battle of the rising stars against 22-year-old Alexander Zverev.

Thiem, who has now reached the ATP Finals for a fourth time in a row, said: “For me personally, it was one big goal when I started into the season, I’m very, very happy that I made it (the London Finals) again.

“But it’s not because of today’s win, it’s because of all the season.”

Also already qualified for London are Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev.

AFP

Osaka Ends Wozniacki’s China Open Reign To Set Up Barty Final

Naomi Osaka of Japan serves during her women’s singles quarter-final match against Bianca Andreescu of Canada at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 4, 2019.
GREG BAKER / AFP

 

Naomi Osaka will face world number one Ashleigh Barty in Sunday’s final of the China Open after powering to a convincing win over title-holder Caroline Wozniacki.

The Australian Open winner threw off some initial frustrations to emphatically end Wozniacki’s reign in Beijing with a 6-4, 6-2 victory in 84 minutes.

The 21-year-old Japanese, who on Friday ended Bianca Andreescu’s run of 17 wins in a row, took time to settle against Denmark’s Wozniacki.

World number four Osaka showed flashes of irritation as she let Wozniacki off the hook at 3-3 in the first set, tossing her racquet on the floor.

But in the ninth game, the pressure on the 19th-ranked Wozniacki told, Osaka grabbing the all-important break of service with an arrowing forehand.

Osaka, like Wozniacki a former number one, broke her opponent at the start of the second set to underline her superiority, before racing to a thumping win.

Earlier on Saturday, Australia’s Barty booked her place in the final by saving match point in a tough three-set triumph over Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

AFP

Murray Worries Over China Open Crowds, Atmosphere

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his men’s singles second-round match against Cameron Norrie of Britain at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 2, 2019. LEO RAMIREZ / AFP

 

 

Andy Murray expressed disappointment about crowds at the China Open tennis, where some of the best players in the world have competed in front of swathes of empty seats.

Poor attendances have been in the sporting headlines because of sparse turn-out at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

And at the ongoing China Open in Beijing, the biggest matches have played out to rows of unoccupied seats at the cavernous Diamond Court, the main arena.

“I think as the tournament goes on you tend to get better crowds towards the end of the week,” Murray said after his last-16 match on Wednesday.

“Last couple of days in terms of atmosphere it’s been not as good as you would like,” added the former number one, 32, who is on the comeback trail from career-saving hip surgery.

The three-time Grand Slam champion praised the tournament as a whole, but said: “I don’t know if I’m complaining about it, but I’d like it to be bigger crowds and nicer atmospheres.

“That normally comes as the week goes on,” added the Briton.

The China Open did not immediately comment on Murray’s remarks when approached by AFP.

At last week’s inaugural Zhuhai Championships in southern China, a senior ATP official said that the country would not be given more and bigger tournaments until it produced “top” players.

AFP

China Open: Murray Reaches Quarter-Final

Andy Murray of Britain hits a return during his men’s singles second round match against Cameron Norrie of Britain at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 2, 2019. LEO RAMIREZ / AFP

 

Exhausted Andy Murray battled into a singles quarter-final for the first time in a year on Wednesday — and then immediately grabbed a snooze.

The former world number one outlasted fellow Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 6-1 over nearly three gruelling hours in hot and hazy Beijing.

The 32-year-old, now ranked a lowly 503, will play top seed Dominic Thiem or Chinese wildcard Zhang Zhizhen in the last eight of the China Open on Friday.

On the mend after a career-saving hip operation in January, Murray looked all in afterwards, and walked gingerly in and out of the post-match press conference.

Blowing out his cheeks several times, the three-time Grand Slam champion said he had slept in the 90 minutes between his victory and talking to reporters.

“I’m tired, I just had a sleep before coming. I mean, I’m really tired,” he said.

To save his creaking body from more punishment, Murray said that he switched tactics in the deciding third set.

“I decided if I want to win I have to go and take risks and come to the net, try and finish the points quicker, which I did,” he said.

Murray defeated US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday for his biggest scalp since his return to singles tennis in mid-August.

The hard-fought triumph over 69th-ranked Norrie means he reaches the last eight in singles on the ATP Tour for the first time since Shenzhen in September last year.

Murray showed several flashes of irritation as the first set against Norrie went to the tie break, chuntering away in the direction of his coaching team courtside.

But he regained his composure and captured the set thanks to an untimely double fault by his compatriot.

The 24-year-old Norrie broke Murray’s serve in the sixth game of the second set and Murray was struggling, bending over between points with his hands on his knees to catch his breath.

He shook his head as he slumped red-faced in his seat at 5-2 down.

He displayed the battling qualities which took him to number one in 2016 to somehow surge back, only to lose the second set on the tie break.

But he somehow wrestled back the initiative in the decider, breaking Norrie’s first service game on the way to a trademark gritty victory.

Also into the quarter-finals was Russian fourth seed Karen Khachanov, a 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/5) winner over France’s Jeremy Chardy.

In the women’s draw, the 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys was a surprise loser to unseeded fellow American Jennifer Brady.

Teenage US Open champion Bianca Andreescu reached the last 16 with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) victory over Belgium’s unseeded Elise Mertens.

AFP

Andy Murray Battles Into China Open Last Eight

Andy Murray of Britain hits a return against Alex de Minaur of Australia during their men’s singles second round match at the Zhuhai Championships tennis tournament in Zhuhai in China’s southern Guangdong province on September 26, 2019. STR / AFP

 

Andy Murray won two ATP Tour singles matches in a row for the first time since major hip surgery to battle into the China Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.

The former world number one outlasted fellow Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 6-1 over nearly three gruelling hours and will play top seed Dominic Thiem or Chinese wildcard Zhang Zhizhen next.

The 32-year-old Murray, now ranked a lowly 503, is stepping up his comeback from a career-saving operation in January — and was at his vintage fighting best here.

On Tuesday, in hot and hazy Beijing, he defeated US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini for his biggest scalp since his return to singles tennis in mid-August.

The three-time Grand Slam winner says he no longer has pain in his hip and it is a matter now of building up fitness so he can play several matches in a row at tournaments.

AFP

China Open: Halep Suffers Defeat To Alexandrova In Second Round

Simona Halep of Romania leaves the court following her third round women’s singles match against Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan at the Wuhan Open tennis tournament in Wuhan on September 25, 2019. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

 

Simona Halep was beaten in the second round of the China Open on Monday by Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova, with the Romanian appearing to struggle with a back injury.

The 28-year-old reigning Wimbledon champion lost 6-2, 6-3 in 64 minutes in Beijing to bring her tournament to an early end.

Halep, fifth in the world, was far from her best as she went down meekly to the 38th-ranked Alexandrova.

She was also forced out of last week’s Wuhan Open because of her troublesome back.

Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu had to dig deep as she won her first match since her US Open heroics.

The 19-year-old rising star defeated 60th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in what was at times an unconvincing performance, finishing the match with 31 unforced errors.

The world number six, who stunned Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadows, arrived in Beijing on a run of 13 wins in a row.

She looked all set to carry on her blistering form against Sasnovich and emphatically captured the first set.

But Andreescu struggled with her serve in the second, totting up six double faults and was in danger of losing her cool in the haze of the Chinese capital.

Normal order was restored in the deciding set, Andreescu breaking Sasnovich’s first service game and then holding her own to take a 3-0 lead and an advantage she refused to surrender.

In round two the Canadian sensation plays Elise Mertens, the world number 23 from Belgium.

AFP

China Open: Naomi Osaka Edges US Pegula To Reach Round Two

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a return against Jessica Pegula of the US in their women’s singles first round match at the WTA China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on September 29, 2019.
WANG ZHAO / AFP

 

Naomi Osaka said she had been “really riled up” as Japan’s two-time Grand Slam champion reached the second round at the China Open on Sunday despite being far from her best.

The 21-year-old former world number one racked up 26 unforced errors on the way to a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) win over Jessica Pegula of the United States.

Fourth seed Osaka looked frustrated and disgruntled on several occasions against the 76th-ranked Pegula.

Osaka, who plays Andrea Petkovic of Germany next in Beijing, was disappointed that she was unable to replicate the form which won her the Pan Pacific Open in Japan a week ago.

“During tournaments, the first match is always the worst for me,” said the US-based star.

“But I was kind of expecting it to be better because I just played really well in Tokyo (actually Osaka).

“I don’t know, I thought it would carry on. I was a little bit frustrated that I felt my game wasn’t really where I left it.”

“I just felt like today I was really riled up, not really sure why,” she added, also describing herself as “very stressed” and “very nervous”.

“I also didn’t want to lose in the first round,” she said.

Osaka’s triumph in the Pan Pacific Open was her first trophy since her second consecutive Grand Slam win, at the Australian Open in January.

Another two-time Grand Slam winner, Simona Halep, cruised into round two in Beijing with a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of qualifier Rebecca Peterson.

The Romanian has had ongoing problems with her back and, despite having little trouble swatting aside the Swede, admitted she was unable to play her normal game.

“I’m not 100 percent recovered, I still feel pain,” said the sixth seed.

“Always when you have an injury, it’s a little bit risky.

“But I accepted it, I took the risk.”

Venus Williams, whose sister Serena is not in the Chinese capital because of a knee problem, battled into the next round with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Barbora Strycova.

 Barty shrugs off injury 

Ashleigh Barty said that she expects to be fit for her opener in Beijing after the Australian world number one struggled with a calf problem in Wuhan.

The 23-year-old lost to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka in Friday’s semi-final at the Wuhan Open and needed treatment on her left calf halfway through the second set.

The French Open champion, the top seed at the China Open, said: “I haven’t been on court since my match in Wuhan.

“We’ll look to get on court this afternoon (for practice) and kind of test it out.

“From how it’s been going, it’s been marginally better than we expected, which is good.

“I’m sure that we’ll have no issue. It’s just about now ticking the boxes and making sure it’s alright to go.”

Barty has a bye in the first round.

AFP

Wozniacki Wins 30th Title With China Open Victory

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return during her women’s final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 7, 2018.
NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

 

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki won her 30th WTA singles title as she beat Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-3 in the China Open final on Sunday.

The Danish world number two was impressive all week in Beijing, never dropping a set and rarely looking troubled, sealing her spot in the WTA Finals Singapore in the process.

The 28-year-old Wozniacki, who won the China Open in 2010, was once more imperious against the 20th-ranked Sevastova, who briefly retired from tennis in May 2013 with an injury.

Wozniacki, whose form has been patchy in the second half of the year, was ruthless on her serve and wrapped up the first set with an overhead smash to underline her superiority.

Top seed Juan Martin del Potro will be a strong favourite when he faces unseeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the men’s final later Sunday.

AFP

Tearful Osaka Survives Huge Scare To Reach Beijing Semis

Naomi Osaka of Japan gestures during her women’s singles quarter-final match against Zhang Shuai of China at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 5, 2018.
Photo: NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

US Open champion Naomi Osaka overcame her emotions to roar back and defeat unseeded Zhang Shuai 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a roller-coaster China Open quarter-final on Friday.

The 20-year-old Japanese was broken on her first two service games and had tears in her eyes as the match threatened to slip away in the second set.

But the world number six gathered herself and — although she continued to look glum and flung her racquet about — found the resolve to pull through over three nail-biting sets.

Osaka faces either of the unseeded duo of Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova or Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in the last four.

The 45th-ranked Zhang — with the Beijing crowd on her side — raced into an early lead against an unusually erratic Osaka, who had won 24 of her previous 28 games.

The eighth seed, who stunned Serena Williams to win her maiden Grand Slam last month in New York, belatedly began finding some range.

But she continued to rack up errors and conceded the first set when she hit into the net. She was to make 66 unforced errors in all.

The 29-year-old Zhang, who has won two career WTA singles titles, saved six break points to take the lead in the second set.

Zhang broke to go 2-0 up and Osaka — who has admitted struggling with the fall-out from the US Open final, when Williams rowed with the chair umpire — began welling up.

But Osaka defied her emotions to avoid the upset, although she barely raised a smile even in victory.

In the men’s quarter-finals, the Italian Fabio Fognini continued his march towards a fourth title of the season with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Marton Fucsovics of Hungary.

AFP

Dimitrov Double-Faults His Way Out Of China Open

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria reacts after winning a point during his men’s singles first round match against Tennys Sandgren of the US at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 2, 2018.
FRED DUFOUR / AFP

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov was on the end of a major shock at the China Open on Wednesday, dumped out in the second round by Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic.

The Bulgarian was shaky on his serve all match, totting up nine double faults as Lajovic defeated him 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Dimitrov, the world number eight, becomes the first major men’s name to exit the Beijing hardcourt tournament.

Top seed Juan Martin del Potro faces Russia’s Karen Khachanov later Wednesday hoping to avoid the same fate.

AFP

Osaka Moves Into China Open Third Round

File photo of Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Toshifumi KITAMURA / AFP

 

Naomi Osaka is keen to move on from the “bittersweet” memories of last month’s US Open triumph and she did just that with a ruthless display at the China Open on Tuesday.

The young Japanese star thrashed unseeded American Danielle Collins 6-1, 6-0 in just 53 minutes on Beijing’s outside hard courts to saunter into round three.

The 20-year-old Osaka, whose maiden Grand Slam was overshadowed by Serena Williams’s row with the chair umpire in New York, faces 10th seed Julia Goerges next in the Chinese capital.

Osaka’s reputation is growing fast and organizers on Tuesday said that she has booked her place in the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore for the first time.

But the world number six has appeared to struggle with the fall-out from the tempestuous final at the US Open, where Williams branded chair umpire Carlos Ramos “a thief” and later accused him of sexism.

“For me, I don’t know, I don’t know, the memory of the US Open is a little bit bittersweet,” Osaka said on Monday.

“Right after, the day after, I really didn’t want to think about it because it wasn’t necessarily the happiest memory for me.”

AFP