Naomi Osaka vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Dubai R2 Preview

🐪 Dubai DFTC – R2 Preview
🇯🇵 (1) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Naomi Osaka will be in action for the first time since her historic Australian Open triumph when she comes up against France’s Kristina Mladenovic at the second round stage of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The top seeded Osaka received a bye through the first round and will be playing her first match since splitting with coach Sascha Bajin.

Naomi Osaka of Japan during the All Access Hour ahead of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka is the undisputed world number 1 in the women’s game. Osaka has won the last two Grand Slam titles and now rightfully sits at the top of the rankings. All the more reason why her recent decision to split with coach Sascha Bajin was such shocking news, especially given how far she has come under his guidance. It will be very interesting to see how Osaka goes without Bajin, perhaps this is where she starts to stutter?

Kristina Mladenovic has made a typically ordinary start to the season but benefited from a favourable opening round draw in Dubai. Mladenovic came up against local wild card Fatma Al-Nabhani and easily won 6-1 6-1. Safe to say Mladenovic will face a far, far greater test against Osaka in the next round.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in Dubai last year, Osaka won that match 6-2 6-2.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Petra Kvitova, Australian Open Final Preview

Australian Open, Final Preview
🇯🇵 (4) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Petra Kvitova

Saturday’s championship match at Melbourne Park promises to be an epic as Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova go head-to-head for the very first time. Not only will the winner walk away with another Grand Slam title, they will also move to number 1 in the world rankings for the first time. Osaka and Kvitova are both in outstanding form, both know what it takes to win a Grand Slam, this is a very tough match to pick a winner!

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates winning her semi-final at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka continues to show maturity well beyond her years. The 21-year-old has made gigantic improvements in the last 12 months and is now just 1 win away from winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles. The reigning US Open champion has certainly not suffered a let-down like most others have in her position after winning their first Grand Slam title, the signs are that she will be at the top of women’s tennis for some time.

Osaka’s route to the final in Melbourne has been a tough one. Osaka has impressively navigated her way through several tough matches. The Japanese star was untroubled in her first few matches against Magda Linette and Tamara Zidansek where she won in straight sets. Osaka then battled past Su-Wei Hsieh and Anastasija Sevastova from a set down before beating Elina Svitolina in straight sets. Osaka secured her spot in Saturday’s final with a hard-fought 6-2 4-6 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova. Osaka was seemingly cruising to a straight set win when she led Pliskova by a set and a break but valiantly fended off a Pliskova comeback, saving early break points in third on route to a tough victory.

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic reacts to making the final of the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Petra Kvitova is in devastating form. Kvitova has bullied her way through the draw at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. Kvitova enters Saturday’s final on an 11-match winning streak having arrived in Melbourne fresh from winning the Sydney International title. Kvitova is also on an 8-match winning streak in finals and has an incredible 26-7 W/L record in finals.

Kvitova stormed through the first week with wins over Magdalena Rybarikova, Irina-Camelia Begu and Belinda Bencic. Kvitova upped her level in the next couple of matches in crushing victories over Amanda Anisimova and Ashleigh Barty. The 2-time former Wimbledon champion secured her spot in the final with a 7-6 6-0 victory over Danielle Collins. Kvitova played a messy opening set against Collins but raised her level in the second as she cruised to victory to reach her first Australian Open final.

Expect fireworks in this match-up, the first time the pair have gone head-to-head.
Who will prevail and capture the first Grand Slam title of 2019?

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Naomi Osaka vs. Karolina Pliskova, Australian Open SF Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, Semi-Final Preview
🇯🇵 (4) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova will renew hostilities when they go head-to-head in Thursday’s second semi-final at Melbourne Park. There is a lot on the line here. Osaka is two just 2 wins away from completing the rare New York / Melbourne double whilst Pliskova is two wins away from finally capturing that elusive maiden Grand Slam title. Both Osaka and Pliskova will become world number 1 if they go on to win the title in Melbourne. This is a big one between two powerful players.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has done extremely well to reach the semi-finals in her first Grand Slam since winning the US Open last year. Osaka continues to show maturity beyond her years. We have seen several players struggle with the pressure after breaking through and winning a Grand Slam title, that has certainly not been the case with Osaka who has admirably dealt this several tough situations on route to the final 4 in Melbourne.

Osaka cruised through her first couple of matches in Melbourne with straight set wins over Magda Linette and Tamara Zidansek. Osaka then navigated her way past Su-Wei Hsieh and Anastasija Sevastova, Osaka came from a set down in both of those matches, against Hsieh she was down a set and a break. Osaka sealed her spot in the final 4 with a fairly dominant 6-4 6-1 win over Elina Svitolina.

Karolina Pliskova is through to her third Grand Slam semi-final and will be aiming to reach her second Grand Slam final in her quest to finally win a Grand Slam title. Pliskova is widely regarded as the best player on tour not to win a Grand Slam title, the former world number 1 now has a great chance to change that.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reacts to winning her quarter-final match at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Pliskova booked her spot in the semi-finals with a dramatic victory over Serena Williams. Pliskova blew a set and a break lead to trail Williams 1-5 in the decider, from there Pliskova won 6 straight games and saved 4 match points on route to a famous 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory. It has been a fantastic start to the season for Pliskova who is currently on a 10-match winning streak having won the Brisbane International title prior to arriving in Melbourne.

Pliskova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Osaka. The pair split their 2 meetings in 2018: Osaka won in 3 sets in Indian Wells whilst more recently Pliskova won 6-4 6-4 in the Tokyo final.

Who will prevail in the battle of the big hitters?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Naomi Osaka vs. Magda Linette, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇯🇵 (4) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇵🇱 Magda Linette

Naomi Osaka begins her 2019 Australian Open campaign on Tuesday night with a first round clash against Poland’s Magda Linette on Rod Laver Arena. The eyes of the tennis world are on Naomi Osaka at this year’s Australian Open in what will be the first Grand Slam Osaka has competed in since winning the US Open last year, how will the young star handle the extra attention and added pressure?

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during the quarter-final at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka made a decent start to the 2019 season with a semi-final showing at the Brisbane International. Osaka started the season with a straight set win over Destanee Aiava before fighting from a set down to claim an important win over Anastasija Sevastova. The tournament ended in disappointment for Osaka when she surprisingly lost to Lesia Tsurenko in straight sets, Osaka then withdrew from Sydney, instead Osaka has been in Melbourne for a week training.

Magda Linette arrives at Melbourne Park battle hardened. Linette was in action at the Hobart International last week where she claimed a couple of wins to get through the qualifying draw before upsetting Maria Sakkari in the opening round. Linette was eliminated from Hobart in the second round, a tough 3 set loss to Greet Minnen, Linette served for the match in the third set.

Interestingly it was Linette who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-2 3-6 6-3 win in Washington D.C last year. Osaka certainly wasn’t anywhere near her best on that occasion and will surely be a a tougher opponent on this occasion.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Naomi Osaka vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Brisbane SF Preview

Brisbane International – SF Preview
🇯🇵 (2) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Naomi Osaka continues her Brisbane International campaign on Saturday with a semi-final showdown against Lesia Tsurenko. Osaka is seemingly the player to beat this week in Brisbane after a sensational performance against Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals. Osaka will be very confident heading into this match given her demolition of Tsurenko in their only previous meeting.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during the quarter-final at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Osaka made a real statement in a 3-6 6-0 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova to reach the semi-finals in Brisbane. Osaka was outplayed in the first set and seemed destined for a third consecutive loss against the tricky Latvian. However, Osaka rallied and produced an extremely high level over the second and third sets to turn the match around and claim a critical win over a troublesome opponent.

Lesia Tsurenko also heads into this match with confidence having navigated her way to the semi-finals in Brisbane without dropping a set. Tsurenko started the week with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Mihaela Buzarnescu before claiming a comfortable 6-4 6-3 win against Kimberly Birrell. Tsurenko’s greatest test came at the quarter-final stage where she defeated Anett Kontaveit 7-5 6-3, a good win over a dangerous opponent.

Osaka smashed Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 at the quarter-final stage of the US Open last year in their only previous meeting. Can Tsurenko can this match more competitive and take down the reigning US Open champion?

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Naomi Osaka vs. Anastasija Sevastova, Brisbane QF Preview

Brisbane International, QF Preview
🇯🇵 (2) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇱🇻 (8) Anastasija Sevastova

An intriguing quarter-final clash at the Brisbane International sees the second seeded Naomi Osaka take on the eighth seeded Anastasija Sevastova. This is an interesting clash because of the great contrast in styles between the pair, the power of Osaka against the versatility of Sevastova.

Osaka and Sevastova have both been untroubled on route to the quarter-finals in Brisbane. Osaka received an opening round bye before defeating Destanee Aiava 6-3 6-2. Whilst Sevastova started the week with a 6-3 6-3 win over Daria Gavrilova before beating Harriet Dart 6-2 -6-0.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

This has proven to be a troublesome match-up for Osaka in recent times. Sevastova won both of the meetings between the pair in 2018, a 6-4 6-1 win in Doha followed by a 6-4 6-4 win in Beijing, both victories on a hard court. Sevastova’s versatile game possess several dilemma’s for Osaka, it will be interesting to see how Osaka handles this match-up on this occasion.

Can Sevastova make it 3 consecutive wins over Osaka?

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Naomi Osaka vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red group match preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇳🇱 (8) Kiki Bertens

Naomi Osaka entered the WTA Finals as the favourite to win the title but is in big danger of succumbing at the group stage after losing her first couple of matches in Singapore. Despite the losses, Osaka still has a chance to reach the semi-finals if she can beat Kiki Bertens on Friday, plus she will need to rely on results to fall her way in the other match of the day. Bertens has got a win to her name this week but she also needs to win this match to advance to the semi-finals. Who will claim the all-important victory?

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her second match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has suffered two fairly similar loses to start her Singapore campaign. Osaka was beaten by Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber in 3 sets, on both occasions she lost the first set before hitting back in the second but ultimately faltering in the decider. Osaka has not been as sharp as we have seen in previous months, making far more unforced errors from the baseline and not serving at her best. Perhaps the pressure has got to Osaka as she has looked quite fragile on court at times this week. Osaka is a Grand Slam champion for a reason so don’t dismiss a response from her in the final group stage match.

Kiki Bertens was the last to confirm her place in Singapore but she has certainly not looked like the worst player in the field. Bertens started the tournament with a big 3 set win over Angelique Kerber from a set and 0-2 down. It was a great start for Bertens in her debut at the WTA finals but she could not get over the line in her next match against Sloane Stephens where she let an early lead slip in the deciding set. Bertens essentially has nothing to lose this week, of all the players in the draw she realistically has the least pressure to deal with as it is a bonus for her to just be competing at this event.

It was Osaka who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-4 6-2 win in Acapulco in 2016. Both players have made significant improvements since that meeting so it will be interesting to see how this match-up unfolds on this occasion.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Angelique Kerber vs. Naomi Osaka, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇩🇪 (1) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka

Two of the pre-tournament favourites will collide in a must win match from the red group when Angelique Kerber takes on Naomi Osaka on Wednesday. Kerber and Osaka both suffered surprising 3-set losses to start their Singapore campaigns meaning the loser of this match is all but eliminated whilst the winner still has a good chance to progress to the semi-finals. Kerber has had the better of this match-up but Osaka has generally been in the better form of the two, this looks like a close one to call.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

The top seeded Angelique Kerber arrived in Singapore in fairly poor form but was seemingly on track to start her Singapore campaign with a big win. It wasn’t to be as Kerber let a 6-1 2-0 lead slide in a 6-1 3-6 4-6 loss to Singapore debutant Kiki Bertens. Kerber was uncharacteristically errant in the big moments and really struggled behind her serve towards the later stages of the match. Kerber will be keen to rebound against Osaka, an opponent she has done well against in recent times.

Naomi Osaka was the form player heading into this event and the outright favourite to win the tournament. However, Osaka made a disappointing start in her Singapore debut, beaten by Sloane Stephens 5-7 6-4 1-6. Osaka was never able to find a high level on a consistent basis and produced an extremely poor serving performance. Osaka faced a whopping 19 break points and was broken on 7 occasions, far, far from the type of numbers we are used to seeing from Osaka over the last few months. Osaka will need a drastic improvement against a problematic opponent when she faces Kerber.

Kerber holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Osaka. It was Osaka who shocked Kerber in their first career meeting at the US Open in 2017. Since then Kerber has won their last 3 matches, all in straight sets. Their most recent match took place at Wimbledon earlier this year, Kerber won that match 6-2 6-4.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Naomi Osaka vs. Sloane Stephens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens

Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka will take on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first match of the red group at the WTA finals Singapore on Monday. This will be just the second career meeting between two the tours brightest young stars, their only previous match took place at the quarter final stage in Acapulco in 2016, 2 and a half years later they meet in Singapore in very different circumstances. Who will win the battle of the US Open champions?

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her third-round match at the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has been the best player in the world over the last couple of months, as a result it is Osaka who is considered by many to be the favourite heading into her maiden appearance at the WTA Finals. Osaka arrives in Singapore having won 14 of her last 16 matches which of course included her stunning triumph in New York followed by a finalist showing in Tokyo and a run to the semi-finals in Beijing.

Unlike Osaka, Stephens has not been playing very well of late. Stephens won just 2 of her last 6 matches and was part of a mad scramble for a position in Singapore that saw her play in Moscow last week. By the time Stephens took to court in Moscow her place in Singapore was guaranteed, Stephens suffered a first round loss to Ons Jabeur and was seemingly already planning her trip to Singapore. Like Osaka, this will be Sloane’s first appearance at the WTA Finals.

It was Sloane Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 victory in Acapulco in 2016. This is a fascinating match-up between two of the most dynamic players on tour, two players that should be inside the top 10 for years to come. Indeed this has potential to be a rivalry we will see a lot of in the future, who will gain the upper hand in Singapore?

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka, US OPEN Final Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: Final Preview
🇺🇸 (17) Serena Williams vs. 🇯🇵 (20) Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams is now 1 win away from claiming a record breaking 24th Grand Slam title. Standing in the American’s way is Japan’s Naomi Osaka who will be competing in her very first Grand Slam final. This is a battle of the generations. An all-time great against a future star, an exciting match-up between a pair of explosive hitters. Will Serena claim a 7th US Open title? Or is this the moment Osaka shakes up the sport and becomes the first Japanese women to win a Grand Slam title?

Serena Williams of the United States in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Serena Williams enters Saturday’s final in supreme form. Williams cruised past Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0, winning 12 of the last 13 games to book her spot in a 9th US Open final Williams has only dropped 1 set on route to the final and has generally looked very sharp throughout the event. Williams has come up against several powerful opponents this tournament, great preparation for taking on Osaka, granted Osaka is a class above Serena’s previous victims.

S. Williams route to the final:

R1 def. Magda Linette 6-4 6-0
R2 def. Carina Witthoeft 6-2 6-2
R3 def. Venus Williams 6-1 6-2
R4 def. Kaia Kanepi 6-0 4-6 6-3
QF def. Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-3
SF def. Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0

N. Osaka route to the final:

R1 def. Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-2
R2 def. Julia Glushko 6-2 6-0
R3 def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-0 6-0
R4 def. Aryna Sabalenka 6-3 2-6 6-4
QF def. Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1
SF def. Madison Keys 6-2 6-4

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during the fourth round at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has reminded the tennis world that her best is as good as it gets over the last few weeks at Flushing Meadows. Osaka produced her most impressive performance of the tournament at the semi-final stage as she fended off all 13 break points faced to claim a 6-2 6-4 win over Madison Keys. Osaka was incredibly clutch under pressure in her semi-final win and has generally stormed through her matches this event. Clearly, Serena will be Osaka’s greatest test, but there is reason for Osaka to be very confident heading into this match.

The only previous meeting between the pair ended in a commanding 6-3 6-2 win for Osaka earlier this year in the opening round at the Miami Open. Osaka entered that match on a high having just won the title at Indian Wells whilst Serena had only just returned to the tour after giving birth. The circumstances are very different heading into Saturday’s final.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here