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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Lesia Tsurenko, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇯🇵 (20) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

A huge opportunity presents itself to Naomi Osaka and Lesia Tsurenko on Wednesday when they go head-to-head for a spot in the semi-finals at the US Open. These two are at very different stages of their careers but this will be the biggest moment for both. Osaka and Tsurenko will be making their first quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam, who will step up and make the most of this rare chance?

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

Naomi Osaka stormed through the first week at Flushing Meadows. Osaka dropped a combined 7 games in commanding victories over Laura Siegemund, Julia Glushko and Aryna Sabalenka. Osaka faced her first big test in the fourth round where she won the battle of the young guns, a 6-3 2-6 6-4 win over a red-hot Aryna Sabalenka. It was an emotional win for Osaka, a huge occasion for the 20-year-old.

No one would have predicted that Lesia Tsurenko would reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final at this year’s US Open. Tsurenko also cruised through the first week of the event without dropping a set. The 29-year-old started her campaign with a win over Alison Van Uytvanck before claiming a huge 6-4 6-2 upset win over the 2nd seeded Caroline Wozniacki. Tsurenko eased past Katerina Siniakova 6-4 6-0 before securing her spot in the final 8 with a grueling 6-7 7-5 6-2 win over Marketa Vondrousova. Tsurenko has always been physically fragile, dealing with some type of injury every other week, there have been concerns this event but so far she has been able to battle through.

This will be the first meeting between the pair at the tour level. A match that features an interesting contrast in styles. The power of Osaka against the consistent game of Tsurenko. Osaka will look to overpower Tsurenko but the Ukrainian thrives on power and has experience on her side.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Naomi Osaka, Wimbledon R3 Preview

Wimbledon, R3 Preview
🇩🇪 (11) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇯🇵 (18) Naomi Osaka

Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka will renew hostilities when they do battle at the third round stage on Saturday at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Kerber and Osaka have built up a competitive rivalry over the last year, ever since Osaka stunned Kerber in the opening round at the US Open last year. Expect an entertaining match between two contrasting styles of tennis.

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Angelique Kerber has certainly not been at her best throughout her first couple of matches of the tournament, but that is often the case with Kerber early on at these big events. The former world number 1 started the event with a 7-5 6-3 win over Vera Zvonareva before having to work surprisingly hard for a 3-6 6-2 6-4 win over 18-year-old Claire Liu. Kerber has been touted as potential champion at Wimbledon overt the last few years without success, perhaps 2018 will be the year for the resurgent German?

Naomi Osaka is into the third round at Wimbledon for the second time in her career, equalling her previous best result from last year. Osaka is one of the most improved players on tour in 2018 and has been fairly untroubled in her first couple of matches this week. Osaka started the event with a 6-4 6-1 win over Monica Niculescu before defeating Katie Boulter 6-3 6-4. Osaka is looking more and more comfortable on grass, a surface that suits her game very well.

Kerber holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Osaka, all 3 of their previous meetings were in 2017. Osaka defeated Kerber 6-3 6-1 at the US Open last year in their first match before Kerber claimed back-to-back straight set wins in Tokyo and Beijing.

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Naomi Osaka, Nottingham SF Preview

Nature Valley Open, Nottingham SF Preview
🇦🇺 (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka

Two of the tour’s most promising young talents will go head-to-head in Saturday’s first semi-final in Nottingham when Ashleigh Barty comes up against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Barty and Osaka are two of the youngest players ranked inside the top 20, this is certainly a match-up that we will be seeing a lot more of in the future. The head-to-head record between the two is split at a win apiece, who will move ahead and book their spot in the final?

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Ash Barty has rocketed in to the final 4 in Nottingham without dropping a set. Barty has made the most of a favourable draw, claiming comfortable wins over Stefanie Voegele, Ying-Ying Duan and Katie Boulter. This feels like an important couple of matches coming up for Barty in Nottingham. The Aussie has only won the 1 WTA title, it is important for her belief to start adding to her collection, the top seed has the perfect opportunity to do just that in Nottingham.

Naomi Osaka has recovered from a slow start to the event to reach a maiden semi-final on a grass court. Osaka needed 3 sets to get passed Sachia Vickery in the opening round before comfortably defeating Denisa Allertova and Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets.

The head-to-head record between the pair sits at 1 win apiece. The most recent match between the two took place earlier this year at the Australian Open, Osaka handily defeated Barty 6-4 6-2 in what was a near-flawless performance by Osaka. A very different result seems likely in Nottingham.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Nottingham QF Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham QF Preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇷🇴 (5) Mihaela Buzarnescu

The pick of the quarter-finals match-ups at the Nature Valley Open on Friday sees the third seeded Naomi Osaka take on the fifth seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu. This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Buzarnescu, an interesting match-up because of the contrast in styles between the pair. This will also be the first grass court quarter-final either of these two have competed in, who will book their spot in the semi-finals?

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Naomi Osaka got her Nottingham campaign off to a slow start as she came from a set down to defeat Sachia Vickery, a 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory. Osaka produced a more assured performance in the second round as she easily disposed of Denisa Allertova to claim a 6-3 6-2 win. Osaka’s consistency and adaptability have improved significantly allowing her to perform well on all surfaces in 2018.

Mihaela Buzarnescu continues to achieve new milestones. Entering the tournament at a career high ranking inside the to 30, the Romanian has been typically gutsy on route to the quarter-finals in Nottingham. Buzarnescu started the event with a 6-2 3-6 7-6 win over Veronica Cepede Royg before battling past Irina Falconi 6-3 5-7 6-3. Buzarnescu did well to recover from disappointment in the second set on both occasions, in the past she would have faded away in the third set.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Denisa Allertova, Nottingham R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R2 Preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇨🇿 Denisa Allertova

The third seeded Naomi Osaka will face a real test in her second round match in Nottingham when she takes on Denisa Allertova. Osaka will need to be wary heading into this match, Allertova has a powerful game that is well suited to the grass, expect Allertova to really change Osaka.

Osaka got off to a slow start in her opening round match in Nottingham. The rising star was forced to come from a set down on route to a 3-6 6-1 6-2 win over Sachia Vickery. In theory Osaka has the type of explosive game that can be very dangerous on this surface, however she does have little experience on grass and was understandably rusty in her opening round match on Monday. It will be interesting to see if her level picks up in the second round.

Denisa Allertova stormed through her opening round match in Nottingham, a dominant 6-3 6-1 win over Kristie Ahn. Allertova also has little experience on grass so it was encouraging for her to have such a positive opening round performance in Nottingham.

The only previous match between the pair was a close one, Osaka claimed a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 7-5 victory at the U.S Open last year. That result will give Allertova encouragement that she can cause an upset here.

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Naomi Osaka vs Serena Williams, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 R1 Preview
🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇸 (wc) Serena Williams

The pick of the opening round clashes at the Miami Open sees the newly crowned Indian Wells champion: Naomi Osaka, come up against 8 time former Miami champion: Serena Williams. This is by far the toughest opening round match-up in the draw, a brutal match-up for both. This will be the first career meeting between Osaka and Williams, an intriguing clash between the future and the present/past of women’s tennis. In many ways, there are real similarities between Osaka and a young Williams, similar strengths and power. Also linking the pair is the fact that Osaka’s coach is Serena’s long time former hitting partner Sascha Bajin. Intriguing indeed.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka arrives in Miami on a high after winning the first title of her career at the premier mandatory level event in Indian Wells. It was an outstanding event for Osaka, the 20-year-old handily beat multiple quality opponents on route to the title, winning 7 consecutive matches for the first time in her career. Osaka claimed wins over Sharapova, Radwanska, Vickery, Sakkari, Pliskova, Halep and Kasatkina. A list that includes wins over 3 former/current number 1’s. The way in which Osaka cruised through her last 3 matches in straight sets dropping a combined 13 games was exceptionally impressive, especially given Osaka’s inexperience at later stages of big events. Osaka showed consistency, patience and maturity that we have not seen from her before. It will be interesting to see how Osaka responds after such an amazing event.

Serena Williams made her much anticipated return to the WTA tour in Indian Wells. The 23-time Grand Slam champion managed to win a couple of matches in her first tournament in over a year, her first tournament since giving birth. Serena claimed straight set wins over Zarina Diyas and Kiki Bertens before succumbing to Venus Williams in straight sets. Overall it was a positive week for Serena who showed that it will not be long before she returns to the top of the game. Miami is a second home to Serena Williams, the 36-year-old has won the Miami Open on 8 previous occasions, most recently in 2015. `After a reasonably early exit in Indian Wells expect Serena to be extremely motivated heading into Miami.




It will be interesting to see what type of level Osaka can bring to this match, if she plays how she did throughout the last couple of weeks in Indian Wells then she has a great chance of pushing Serena Williams. However, replicating her Indian Wells level in Miami will be a tough, that’s for sure, getting passed a determined Serena will also be very tough.

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