Naomi Osaka provided a light-hearted apology to her racket sponsor for throwing a tantrum in opposition to Zheng Saisai on the Australian Open on January 22 because the defending champion overcame her frustrations to arrange a third-round conflict with Coco Gauff.
After dropping serve early within the second set, third seed Osaka threw her racket, slammed a ball into the courtroom and gave her racket a kick for good measure earlier than steadying the ship and incomes a 6-2 6-Four win on a gusty day at Margaret Courtroom Area.
“I mean, my racket just magically flew out of my hand,” Osaka advised reporters with a smile.
“I couldn’t control it. Sorry, Yonex.”
“I think that’s how I dealt with my frustration. It was a bit childish. I just want to play one match without throwing my racket or kicking it. That’s all I want.”
The match had echoes of her tempestuous third-round win over Hsieh Su-wei on the similar venue final 12 months when Osaka was pushed to distraction by her opponent’s unorthodox recreation of drop-shots and slices.
Osaka finally got here again from a set all the way down to overhaul Hsieh and went on to assert her second Grand Slam title with one other stormy victory over Petra Kvitova.
“Yeah, it’s really tough, because you start thinking she’s not hitting winners,” stated Osaka, who was determined to keep away from a 3rd set in opposition to the 42nd-ranked Zheng.
“You’re the one making all of the errors. And also you attempt to inform your self to not make that many errors, however it’s a must to go for these balls.
“So it’s such as you’re strolling a really nice line between being very aggressive or making an attempt to push however that’s her recreation. So it’s very exhausting.”
After her tantrum, Osaka was damaged once more and fell 4-2 behind however shrugged off the setback with a wry smile earlier than blowing Zheng off courtroom in a firestorm of winners.
Gauff, the 15-year-old American sensation, arrange a blockbuster rematch along with her U.S. Open conqueror Osaka by beating Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-Three 7-5 at a heaving Melbourne Area.
Osaka defeated Gauff 6-Three 6-Zero within the third spherical at Flushing Meadows earlier than her title defence was ended by Belinda Bencic within the subsequent match.
“I played her at the U.S. Open so I know what to expect,” Gauff stated of Osaka in her on-court interview.
“I think she’s a great competitor on and off the court.”