WTA

Overjoyed Osaka books Miami Open final date with Swiatek

By Sports Desk March 31, 2022

Naomi Osaka is through to her first tournament final since her 2021 Australian Open win, getting past Belinda Bencic 6-4 3-6 6-4 at the Miami Open on Thursday.

The reigning Olympic champion looked strong early, breaking twice to go up 4-1 as she took advantage of Osaka's second serve, winning nine of the 11 second serves she saw in the opening set.

As Osaka's success on second serve cleaned up in the second set, Bencic's avenue to victory vanished, unable to save either of the two break points she faced in the second set.

Osaka's first serve percentage shot up to 70 in the deciding set, winning 87 per cent of points on first serve (20-23) to shut the door. Despite Bencic breaking back once after going down a double-break, she was unable to stop her Japanese opponent from serving it out.

Speaking on court after her win, the Florida native was emotional, shedding some tears as she thanked the fans in attendance.

"I just wanted to say thank you everyone, the atmosphere was really good," she said.

"Damn, I'm always crying. I just wanted to say thank you, this tournament really means a lot to me and it's my first time in the finals here."

World number-one-in-waiting Iga Swiatek twice came back from a break down in the second set to overcome the challenge of American Jessica Pegula 6-2 7-5.

The straight sets win for the 20-year-old Polish star means she has now not dropped a set in eight straight matches dating back to the fourth round at the Indian Wells Open where she beat Angelique Kerber two sets to one. 

Against Pegula, Swiatek was simply too strong in the opening set, breaking twice in four tries when Pegula's second serve was vulnerable, with the American only winning 27 per cent of her second serve points (4-15) in the opening frame.

The second set was far more competitive, but Swiatek remained just slightly better both on serve and in the return game in a set where four consecutive games resulted in breaks in a seesawing contest.

Pegula refused to let the top seed serve it out comfortably, saving two match points to extend the second set at 5-5. It was just delaying the inevitable as Swiatek broke back instantly and held her nerve, and serve, to avoid a tie-break.

 

Related items

  • Murray knocked out of Geneva Open as Hanfmann books Djokovic clash Murray knocked out of Geneva Open as Hanfmann books Djokovic clash

    Andy Murray was denied a meeting with Novak Djokovic at the Geneva Open as Yannick Hanfmann completed a 7-5 6-2 win over the Scot on Tuesday.

    Murray's first-round clash with Hanfmann was suspended due to rain on Monday, with the three-time grand slam champion 7-5 4-1 down.

    He had earlier fumed at umpire Greg Allensworth as pollen rained down on the court in Switzerland, questioning why play had not been stopped.

    The rain may have frustrated Hanfmann's victory pursuit on Monday, but it only provided a temporary reprieve for Murray as the players returned to complete the match the next day.

    Hanfmann held his nerve through his final two service games to book a meeting with Djokovic for Wednesday.  

    In Tuesday's other early match, four-time grand slam quarter-finalist David Goffin was beaten in straight sets by Nicolas Moreno De Alboran.

    The likes of Denis Shapovalov and Tallon Griekspoor are also in action in Switzerland on Tuesday, with Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud joining Djokovic in entering for the second round on Wednesday.

  • Murray fumes at umpire amid severe weather at Geneva Open Murray fumes at umpire amid severe weather at Geneva Open

    Andy Murray fumed at the umpire as inclement weather forced his Geneva Open tie with Yannick Hanfmann to be suspended.

    Murray's meeting with Hanfmann was postponed with the Scot a set and a double break down, with his German opponent in control at 7-5 4-1.

    Former world number one Murray was furious with umpire Greg Allensworth as the weather closed in.

    "I know you guys don't play but it'd be good to have a bit of a feel for what's happening," said Murray during a break in play.

    "You're fine for us to play when there's s*** flying around?

    "It's like it's snowing out here and you still want us to keep going."

    Allensworth eventually sent the players into the dressing rooms.

    Murray is aiming to use the Geneva Open to prepare for what is set to be his first French Open appearance since 2020.

    A tie with Novak Djokovic is on the cards if Murray can turn things around on Tuesday, though it looks incredibly unlikely.

  • Zverev sees off Jarry to claim second Italian Open crown Zverev sees off Jarry to claim second Italian Open crown

    Alexander Zverev claimed his second Italian Open title following a 6-4 7-5 victory over Nicolas Jarry in the final.

    The German, who also triumphed in Rome seven years ago, captured his first silverware of the season - and sixth of his career in an ATP Masters event.

    Having dropped just a single set on the way to his 11th Masters final, Zverev continued his impressive form by winning 95 per cent of his first-serve points (37 out of 39) and committing just eight unforced errors.

    Jarry had enjoyed an impressive fortnight in Rome, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Tommy Paul on the way to becoming the first Masters finalist from Chile since Fernando Gonzalez (also at the Italian Open) in 2007.

    However, just two break points were enough to deny the 21st seed a fourth career ATP title, with Zverev eventually converting his fourth championship point to ensure a return to the winner's circle.

    Data debrief

    Zverev joins Rafael Nadal (10) and Novak Djokovic (six) as one of only three players since 2000 to win the Italian Open on multiple occasions.

    Landing his second crown in Rome seven years after his first, it marks the longest gap in seasons between two men's singles titles at the event in the Open Era.

    Meanwhile, Zverev became the most successful German male in ATP Masters events since the format's introduction in 1990, with his sixth such success seeing him eclipse Boris Becker's total of five.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.