?? Western & Southern Open – QF Preview + Prediction:
?? (4) Naomi Osaka vs. ?? (12) Anett Kontaveit
Naomi Osaka continues her Western & Southern Open campaign on Wednesday with a quarter-final clash against the 12th seeded Anett Kontaveit at Flushing Meadows. Osaka has won all 3 of the previous meetings between the pair and is showing the form to suggest she can maintain her unbeaten record over the Estonian.
Kontaveit has transitioned nicely from the European clay to the hard courts in New York. Kontaveit was involved in the first tournament of the tour resumption on clay in Palermo a few weeks ago where she made it all the way to the final. The 24-year-old has quickly found her rhythm on the hard courts with 3 commanding straight set wins this week. A 6-3 6-1 win over Daria Kasatkina in the first round, followed by a 6-3 6-4 win over the in-form Jill Teichmann. Kontaveit secured her spot in the final 8 with a 6-3 6-3 win over Marie Bouzkova.
Osaka made a somewhat rusty start in her first tournament since the tour resumption. The 4th seed slowly found her game as she defeated Karolina Muchova 6-7 6-4 6-2 in the second round after receiving a bye through the first round. Osaka produced a far, far more commanding performance in the third round where she smashed the 16th seeded Dayana Yastremska 6-3 6-1 in what was a statement victory at the venue where Osaka won her first major title.
Osaka holds a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record over Kontaveit. The 2-time major champion has won their two most recent matches in straight sets, including a 6-2 7-6 victory in Dubai in 2018 in their latest clash.
I’m going to side with Osaka here. The quick hard courts at Flushing Meadows suit the Osaka game perfectly. Osaka played a great match against Yastremska in the previous match, a similar performance here will see her win fairly comfortably against an opponent she has a great record against. Kontaveit is also playing well but this is a step up for her. Osaka is more powerful and generally more consistent, a bad match-up for Kontaveit.