Thursday, May 23, 2019 | ePaper

No. 1 Naomi Osaka loses 1st match since splitting from coach

  • Print


AP, DubaiĀ  :
Naomi Osaka lost her first match since moving up to No. 1 in the WTA rankings - and first since splitting from her coach.
The two-time major champion had trouble with her serve and was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by 67th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic at the Dubai Championships in a little more than an hour on Tuesday.
Afterward, Osaka wiped away tears while speaking to reporters and discussing the difficulty of dealing with her new-found spot atop the sport.
"I don't think I necessarily understand what position I'm in, in a way. Because last year, I wasn't even anywhere close to this ranking. People didn't pay attention to me - and that's something that I'm comfortable with," Osaka said.
"I don't really like attention," she said. "It's been a little tough."
Playing a second-round match after an opening bye as the tournament's top seed, Osaka won only 5 of 27 second-serve points, just 19 percent, and barely half of her first-serve points, 12 of 22.
She was broken seven of the nine times she served.
Mladenovic came into the Dubai Championships with a record of 0-4 in 2019.
Osaka had not competed since winning the Australian Open in January for her second consecutive Grand Slam title, a victory that also allowed her to become the first tennis player from Asia to lead the rankings.
Last week, Osaka announced on Twitter that she would no longer work with coach Sascha Bajin, who began coaching her before last season and helped her win the U.S. Open in September.
Osaka didn't offer an explanation for the split at the time, but addressed it during a media availability before the Dubai tournament, saying: "Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn't. ... I think my reason is I wouldn't put success over my happiness."
In other action Tuesday at the hard-court tournament, second-seeded Petra Kvitova - the runner-up to Osaka at the Australian Open - beat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4; third-seeded Simona Halep - Osaka's predecessor at No. 1 - defeated Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (5), 6-4; and No. 4 seed Karolina Pliskova edged Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
No. 7 seed Kiki Bertens lost to Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (6), while No. 11 Daria Kasatkina was eliminated by 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

More News For this Category

Korean schoolgirl stuns badminton No.1 at Sudirman Cup

Korean schoolgirl stuns badminton No.1 at Sudirman Cup

Seventeen-year-old South Korean schoolgirl An Se-Young stunned Taiwan's world number one Tai Tzu-ying at the Sudirman Cup on Wednesday to burnish her fast-growing reputation.Rising star An, who is ranked 50th

Joe Root says England want to beat Australia's strongest side in World Cup and Ashes

Joe Root says England will relish the chance to tackle a full-strength Australia this summer.The two teams will face each other on Saturday in a 50-over warm-up game - which

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives for the basket as Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) defends during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals in Toronto on Tuesday.

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives for the basket as Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) defends during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals in Toronto on Tuesday.

BHF picks up 34-players for Indoor Asia Cup

The Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) on Wednesday picked up 34 players for the preliminary training camp for the ensuing Indoor Asia Cup.The selected players have been asked to report to

Top-seeded Zverev advances, Dimitrov out at Geneva Open

Top-seeded Zverev advances, Dimitrov out at Geneva Open

AP, Geneva :Top-seeded Alexander Zverev eased to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Ernests Gulbis in the second round of the Geneva Open on Tuesday.The fifth-ranked German, seeking his first title

With the world at her feet, Osaka takes Paris in her stride

With the world at her feet, Osaka takes Paris in her stride

AFP, Paris :Twelve months ago at Roland Garros, an embarrassed Naomi Osaka bristled at being hailed as the 'coolest thing' in tennis.Now, however, the 21-year-old Japanese returns to Paris as

Nikita Parris joins Lyon after leaving Manchester City

Nikita Parris has agreed a move to European champions Lyon. The 25-year old England forward joins the French club on a free transfer, having left Manchester City after four years

Japan hot-shot Matsuda eyes Olympic surf gold

Japan hot-shot Matsuda eyes Olympic surf gold

AFP, Kamogawa :Just 16 and riding the crest of a wave, Japan's teenage surfing sensation Shino Matsuda has a secret weapon as she targets gold at next year's Tokyo Olympics

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) puts up a shot against Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard (11) during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals  in Portland, Ore on Monday. The Warriors won 119-117 in overtime.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) puts up a shot against Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard (11) during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in Portland, Ore on Monday. The Warriors won 119-117 in overtime.

Semenya to race 3,000m at Diamond League's Prefontaine

Semenya to race 3,000m at Diamond League's Prefontaine

AFP, Los Angeles :Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya will race the 3,000 meters at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic on June 30, a distance she can contest without reducing her