Osaka Serves Notice To Gauff, Sabalenka Sent Off, Halep Injured; Barty v Azarenka At Cincinnati Masters

by Staff | August 18th, 2021, 11:47 pm
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The marquee showdown Wednesday at the Cincinnati Masters featured 4-time Slam champion Naomi Osaka meeting the teen phenom Coco Gauff in the second round.

In their third meeting, Gauff fended off an early strong start from Osaka before settling down, and by the end of the opener Osaka tossed in a few errors and Gauff served it out.

Gauff got another break early in the second but Osaka would bounce right back and then grab a hold of the match.

After a brief rain delay, Osaka dominated the third behind her serve — losing just one point — to roll 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Osaka dropped 11 aces on the 17-year-old and lost only one point on serve in the final set.

“Whenever I play her, it’s definitely always very tough,” Osaka said. “I felt like today the match was very serve-reliant, so I’m very happy that my first serve didn’t let me down.

“I would have been really happy if I was able to turn things around in the first set, but I’m glad that I was able to do it in the second set. I was more just examining her and trying to stay calm. I felt like the last time I played her in Australia, I was definitely not calm at all. Just trying to keep a level head and figure out like what I could do better during the match.”

Osaka will now face lefty Jill Tiechmann.

Victoria Azarenka continued her title defense topping American Alison Riske Alison Riske 6-2, 7-5. She’ll now face world No. 1 Ash Barty who bumped off Heather Watson 6-4, 7-6(3). Barty leads Azarenka 2-1.

Angelique Kerber overcame Elina Svitolina in the opening match on Center besting the Ukrainian who had won their last seven with a tough 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win. Kerber, who has won 12 of her last 13, will now meet former French champ Jelena Ostapenko who received a second set retirement from Jen Brady.

Paula Badosa pulled the upset of the day eliminated Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4). Badosa, who had won in a final set breaker in the first round, did it again today, this time coming from a break down in the third.

“Aryna is an amazing player,” Badosa said. “I used to see her on TV, so at the beginning, it was a little bit surprising. She has amazing shots. I knew I had to fight until the last moment, and that’s what I did.”

Ons Jabeur kept her strong summer going beating 2020 French winner Iga Swiatek 6-3, 6-3. Jabeur also took down the Pole at Wimbledon.

Simona Halep withdrew with a groin issue giving Jessica Pegula a pass.

“Unfortunately, a scan this morning showed that I have a small tear in my right adductor and therefore it would be too risky for me to play tonight,” Halep wrote on twitter. “I will rest up and do everything I can to be ready for the @usopen 🙏🏻”.

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