US Open 2018 final review: Naomi Osaka plays a sensational match to win first Slam title

 

The dust has settled on Saturday’s US Open final but I am still in shock at what happened. Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams, 6-2 6-4 to win the 2018 US Open, her first Slam title. This had to be one of the most dramatic matches i’ve ever watched. I’ll get to the drama later but the main emphasis must be on Osaka.

Playing her first Slam final and against her idol, I was blown away with Osaka’s performance as she further validated the notion that she is a big match player. Osaka again showed her patience and consistency in the rallies. I felt there was more intent on her shots than her match against Keys and she used angles beautifully to  expose Williams’s movement.

Osaka saved two break points in the first set and then another three in the second before finally getting broken. It was the first time that Osaka was broken on serve since her fourth round match against Aryna Sabalenka. This snapped a streak of 21 (!!!)  break points saved in a row. That’s astonishing. Like the match against Keys, Osaka found some huge serves down break points. Osaka’s first break point save in the second set was on an electric 19 shot rally, arguably the point of the match.

Osaka reacted to losing her serve by breaking straight back and with so much positive energy. That’s when the match rather descended into chaos. I thought Osaka maintained her composure magnificently and served out her first Slam with such poise. Take a bow, Naomi Osaka 👏.

Osaka going up to her box was a very special moment 😭.

For Williams, I thought she looked nervous coming out onto court but generally was sharper than in the Wimbledon final. Williams threw in some double faults which was rare to see but the serve had the pop on it that was missing in the Wimby final. Ultimately, she came up against an opponent who was better on the day.

So to all the drama. I don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on it all because this is Osaka’s moment. For anyone who didn’t get to watch though… Williams was given a code violation for coaching leading 1-0 15-40 in the second set. Williams was not happy about this and approached the umpire, Carlos Ramos, and told him “I don’t cheat to win, i’d rather lose”. The match continued and it did seem to fire up Williams who broke to lead 3-1. After failing to consolidate her break of serve, Williams smashed her racquet and received her second code violation resulting in a point penalty. Williams was absolutely furious and argued with the umpire for some time, demanding that he apologise. Williams called him a liar and a thief. Ramos then gave another code violation for verbal abuse which resulted in a game penalty. Williams had the referees for some time on but Ramos’s call stood.

Regarding the coaching, my overwhelming thought is that there is a lack of consistency in calling out coaching. There have been so many matches that i’ve watched this week where you can see obvious coaching happening (the latest example was Stephens in her QF vs. Sevastova) that was not picked up by the umpire. There’s not a consistent trend of enforcement by the umpires. The racquet smash was indefensible and deserved a code violation. I did tend to think that the game penalty was harsh. Williams did raise her voice and was very aggressive in her behaviour towards Ramos, but she didn’t use any bad language. It was sad to watch as Williams lost her composure on court.

I’m just really sad about what happened at the end. The first set and a half was actually a decent quality match and I was enjoying it. This should all be about Osaka and the sensational match that she played but her moment was overshadowed by all the drama. I was so excited about the trophy ceremony before the match. It transcended into one of the most awkward that i’ve ever watched as the crowd began booing and Osaka started to cry. The only person who could have stopped that was Williams and i’m so glad she took hold of the situation and got the crowd back on side to give Osaka the applause and adulation she deserved. This drama had nothing to do with Osaka. She won the match fair and square. This was her moment.

Osaka teared up in her press conference talking about why she apologised in her trophy ceremony.

Osaka also elaborated on her celebration plans which just made me smile. Osaka is such a down-to-earth character. She’s made such huge strides this year with her tennis, managing to harness the power. While this was one hell of a dramatic occasion, i’m so happy for her to have claimed the first of, in my opinion, multiple Slams. Never change, Naomi. You’re a star ⭐ .

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53 thoughts on “US Open 2018 final review: Naomi Osaka plays a sensational match to win first Slam title

  1. The most unpleasant and worse final that I have ever watched which is such a shame as I thought that it could be a classic when Serena broke back in the 2nd set. The problem ( in my opinion ) is the inconsistency of the Umpires who regulate the matches ( similar to football referees who are renowned for this issue ). My understanding is that an Umpire will often have a quiet word with a player during the break if he/she thinks that Off court coaching is going on before giving them an official warning but this one did not. I am certainly no fan of Serena and she should not have talked to the Umpire in the way that she did but I have often heard players ( especially male ones ) say a lot worse to an Umpire and swear and get no warning so I can understand why Serena was angry when she was punished for being less abusive than them and did not swear ( to my knowledge ).

    I am not saying that this Umpire was in the wrong as he was probably carrying out the strict rules of the game but it is no good for some Umpires to strictly enforce the rules whilst others are more lenient. There needs to be a lot more consistency so the players can understand.

    The booing at the end of the match was a total disgrace and showed no respect or regard to the player who won the tournament. I’m still fuming and this match has put me off tennis as Naomi should have been overjoyed but looked so miserable. This should have been one of the best experiences of her life but I have never seen a player look so unhappy at a trophy presentation after winning a Grand Slam or any other tennis tournament. I hope that Naomi wins another Grand Slam in 2019 so she can enjoy it properly.

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    • I didn’t watch the match but saw clips of the drama on youtube when I finished work last night. I completely agree with you, and that’s basically what Patrick Moratoglue has said in the press. ALL coaches coach their players from the side. It’s pretty openly talked about on the mens side, Boris Becker and Toni Nadal have spoke candidly about coaching Nadal and Djokovic during play.

      I won’t go as far to say Ramos was singling Serena out unfairly, because I know he’s always one of the stricter umpires (Rafael Nadal actually requested that Ramos never umpire any of his matches last year). But it was definitely harsh. And it’s unlikely that Sascha wasn’t coaching Osaka on the other end, so in that context it’s wildly unfair.

      But all credit to Osaka. It’s been shaky since Indian Wells, but now she’s firmly set herself at the top of the game with the big guns. Interested to see how she finishes the year.

      Disappointed that Serena didn’t win that elusive 24th. It took her a few goes to break 18, but at her age you wonder how many chances she has left. And that in itself puts pressure everytime she gets close.

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      • Agree about the suggestions and general feelings with the coaching. I wonder if a soft warning could have been made to Serena for the coaching and even before the game penalty. Interested to see if any outcomes come from this match.

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    • Me, encouraging you to keep watching the game may not mean much, but I’m certain Naomi Osaka would be fine. It’s the current climate permeating our social lives, there was even such negativity and bias going into the final, I wondered where it was coming from. Sensitive as she may seem, she is circumspect in her thoughts, hopefully she can ring fence these moments and let her tennis continuously do the talking. 🙂 All the support for her is welcome.

      I wanted her to win, partly for selfish reasons, cause I like this type of power baseline tennis. She’s virtually a young Serena-esque type player. With Serena growing older, the WTA tour needs someone of her ilk to mix things up with the rest of them. She absolutely did her homework coming into the match, and even more focused and patient than she did with Keys. Madison also received a lot of negativity for her inability to take all her chances against Osaka, but the truth is, Osaka internalizes her play and never makes it easy. What seems like a glorious break point to you, doesn’t fill her with dread. It rather gets her mental challenge levels going. On this type of form, you have to be always on against her. She was teased for crying after beating Sabalenka, but to her she had overcome one of her internal goals, making it past that round in a Grand Slam against a tough opponent. One could say Serena was effectively playing herself(on the other side), it was never going to be easy and she was going to have to dig deep no matter what.

      If nothing at all, it should encourage other young players too that they can challenge the seasoned players. For Osaka, it hopefully unlocks her to bigger pursuits in the future. Serena’s achievements on court are legendary, 23 or 24 slams her game still and will always command my respect. It’s different strokes for different folks. Some like the numbers, I just love the game and the spirit of it.

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      • I wholly agree with you. And I also think James’s blog post is fair and correct. Not an easy match to write about, but he did it well. I could say so many other things, but will just say I was struck not only by Osaka’s stunning performance, but also how it contrasted with her reserved, almost demure personality. Throw in all the complications stemming from what happened in the second set, the award ceremony itself was strange, to say the least. My overriding feeling is regret that rather than it being mainly about the winner, it became mainly about the loser.

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    • I agree that there should be consistency. In my view abuse of umpires should never be allowed or tolerated, whoever the player is (or whatever their gender). It sets a terrible example for the younger players.

      Aga Radwanska got into a heated argument with the umpire (Nouni?) during her match with Lucie in Doha some years ago, but she never crossed the line that Serena crossed yesterday; she was never abusive or insulting towards the umpire. That’s what should happen when emotions run high

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  2. I feel so bad for Naomi. This was a terrible situation, but she was the better player on the day. I do however feel like Serena’s behaviour was totally unacceptable. I have never seen any player be so rude towards an umpire and she made it very uncomfortable to watch. When I watched I thought her behaviour was disgraceful, but now it suddenly turned into a sexism debate ? Anyways I hope Osaka can soon win another slam, because she just had to feel terrible after this one. She truly is adorable and it is so enjoyable to listen to her 🙂 .

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    • It’s a sexism debate because most of us who watch mens tennis regularly see players speak to the umpires like this. In fact, they are a hell of a lot more abusive. And it’s totally understandable that Serena would feel it was unfair get a coaching violation without a warning, in a Grand Slam final, when she never gets violations for coaching usually. Should she have handled it differently? Sure, and she will know that. But most of us would react in the same way…

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      • I understand the complaints about the coaching and I understand why she was angry, but I think she should have known not to break her racket. I still do not think it has anything to do with sex. I am 100% sure if any man spoke to that umpire in such a threatening way, he would have given the person a warning. Unfortunately for her it was het third warning. And to be honest *I have never seen any of the top men ( or the other top woman 😱) talk to an umpire like that*. I could be wrong, I just haven’t seen it. Sex aside nobody deserves to be spoken to the way Serena yelled at the umpire. That was disrespectful regardless of her sex and I would the same if a man did it.

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      • Federer had a few heated arguments just this year in both Australia and Indian Wells, breaking several rackets and swearing at the umpires. I don’t believe he received any violations. Nadal, Djokovic and Murray regularly argue with umpires and frequently state that they should be disciplined or fired for poor decision making. And then you have the likes of Kyrgios, Tomic, Fognini.

        Are you honestly telling me that McEnroe calling an umpire the “scum of the earth”, Fognini calling an umpire a “whore” or Federer “I don’t give a shit what you say” (2009 US Open final) aren’t worse than what Serena said?

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      • The example with Federer is irrevelant, because that was not nearly as bad as what Serena did (or rather the way she did it). I have no respect for Fognini, Kyrgios and Tomic’s behaviour ( I do think people would have given them a lot of hate if they behaved like that in a grand slam final ). I unfortunately cannot comment on John McEnroe, but I am sure his behaviour was disgusting. I have never seen Djokovic, Nadal or Murray stepping over the line in such a dramatic fasion, they have gotten angry before, but I have never felt traumatised watching them speak to an umpire. In fact this time I just wanted to stop watching the match, because of a players behaviour and that is unfortunate because I really wanted Osaka to enjoy this moment. I just think their is a big difference between what you say and the way you say it. This just was the worst I have ever seen. Luckily I have not seen al those instances.

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      • Well it’s subjective, if you were “traumatized” by her behaviour then so be it. I personally don’t think she did anything that doesn’t regularly get done on the ATP. Maybe the reason you find this incident so shocking that Serena happens to be a woman.

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      • As for John McEnroe being shown leniency; back in about 1990 McEnroe forfeited a whole match, never mind a game, after one outburst against an umpire (though to be fair it was a case of a straw that broke the camel’s back). Umpires were mostly patient with him until one came along who wasn’t, and AFAIK he never did it again.

        Don’t forget also that McEnroe wasn’t made a member of the All-England Tennis Club after he won his first Wimbledon, as was usual, so he didn’t get away with it scot free even in the early days.

        I think Peter’s right; consistency is the key, whichever gender is being umpired and at whatever level. I’d argue that top players have more of a responsibility to behave well since they are seen as setting an example for the rest of the tour.

        Sympathy too for Naomi who was reduced to tears after the match during what should have been some of the happiest moments of her young life. Her being booed by the crowd when she’d done nothing to deserve it was absolutely disgusting and I’m angry even now thinking about it. If there was any justice those responsible would be banned from watching live tennis (especially big matches) for life.

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      • You can find dozens of videos of Federer ranting at umpires on youtube, he can swear like a sailor when he wants, and he’s still considered the perfect gentleman of sport. It’s double standards like these which are highlighted when things like last night happen. And considering players like Wozniacki and Sharapova don’t get quite so much vitriol when they tirade mid match, there are probably elements of racism here too.

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      • I am sorry Andrew, but I cannot agree with you. Federer has never behaved half as badly as Serena has done yesterday. Sexism and Racism were just futile excuses for her shocking and disresepectful behaviour yesterday. The only double standard I saw, was Serena claiming character is important to her when she behaved like that. You’re arguments regarding other player are not relevant in this situation, because neither Sharapova nor Wozniacki has ever acted like that. I just cannot see how anybody can excuse her behaviour because last night she was wrong.

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      • What exactly did you find SO offensive John? Please post examples here, because I feel like I’m missing something…

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      • The one that sticks in my craw is cricket vs. tennis. Agreed, Nick Kyrgios shouldn’t have said what he did to Stan Wawrinka’s girlfriend (Donna Vekic), but he got stuck with a $10,000 fine for that one when there are cricketers (especially the Aussies, though others do it too) who say and get away with a lot worse. I’d like to know what Merv Hughes’s final total of fines would have been if he’d been held to the same standard over his career as Kyrgios was that time.

        That having been said, Andrew if you ‘re saying there’s a double standard here, which direction do you think it should be going in? Heavy fines for Federer, Fognini, Sharapova, Wozniacki et al., or little or no punishment for Serena? Or halfway between the two for all of them?

        I for one don’t want to see players, whatever their gender or ethnicity, thinking it’s OK to abuse the officials and I’d guess the majority of players don’t either.

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      • Well I don’t really see Serena as abusing the umpire. The furthest she went was calling him a point “thief” and said he would never umpire another match of hers.

        The issue here *should* be the inconsistency of violations. There are two people in this whole drama who could have prevented what happened. 1) Patrick Moratoglue, by not coaching, and 2) Carlos Ramos, for choosing to be consistent with what usually happens and by having a quiet word on the change of ends. There is no fault on Serena at this point, and yet it’s her who was penalized. So given the occasion, I really don’t see why her reaction was disproportionate to what she saw as being unfairly singled out.

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      • Like I said before, it was the way she said it. I would never want anyone to speak to me like that. She shouted at him and pointed at him. I thought she behaved like a bully and then all off a sudden started to feel sorry for herself. I just think her behaviour was inexcusable. Honestly I think it was a lot worse than swearing. I also did not like the fact that she all of a sudden brought her daughter into it, like because she is a mother she will do everything right. And then all of a sudden it became about sex, when she was just blatantly rude. To summarise, I just think there is a big difference between saying something and rudely shouting.

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    • Williams deployed all her armoury in the heated argument, from saying she doesn’t cheat because she’s a responsible mother to a baby, to the sexism accusation, to tears each time the referees came on court. To me, despite her greatness, she has an element of believing she is a victim. I could cite other examples, off the court, but perhaps better not here. Sometimes she appears to be right (for example I understand she is drugs tested more than others). But usually, I believe, she is wrong.

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    • I defintely see it like you do, John and my respect for Serena has dropped a little bit after this match. of course the umpire could have given a warning instead of a code violation for the coaching but from a certain point later in the match Serena’s behaviour got unacceptable and left the umpire with no choice if he would not lose the authority over the match. because she played an oppenent with black roots she could not pull the racism card so she choose the sexism card and to bring her daughter into the discussion, ok….

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  3. First of all, i wanted Serena to win because i think she deserve to have at least 24 GS on her name. Naomi Osaka though proved to be the better player of the final and well deserved winner. Big congrats to her and i hope she will back it up in the future. About controversy, from my point of view it’s not a controversy at all, the umpire took the right decisions and Serena fully deserved what she get. US Open statement on women’s final:

    On the fifth point in the second game of the second set between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, the chair umpire witnessed coaching taking place from Williams’ coach. Even though her coach has admitted to coaching, Williams has made it clear that she did not receive any coaching. Nevertheless, in accordance with the rules, Williams was assessed a Code Violation, resulting in a warning.

    At the completion of the fifth game of the second set, Williams was assessed a second code violation for racquet abuse, which required a point penalty.

    At the changeover, at 4-3, Williams was assessed a third code violation for verbal abuse in the judgment of the umpire, which then required a game penalty.

    The chair umpire’s decision was final and not reviewable by the Tournament Referee or the Grand Slam Supervisor, who were called to the court at that time.

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    • The controversy is not that the Umpire was not technically right. It is that other players have clearly been coached in this event and have not been punished ( as pointed out by James on here in his review ) and also that a lot of male players have been more abusive to Umpires in the past and not been punished ( as pointed out by Marion Bartoli and Sue Barker amongst others including some male players ). I agree with Sue Barker when she says that Tennis is the ‘loser’ after this tennis final controversy. It has left a bad taste in the mouth with a lot of Sports fans. .

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      • Surely the real point about this controversy is that she received the game penalty because it was her third offence in the match (coaching, then racquet abuse, then abusing an official i.e. the umpire… which,under the rules, she did, by accusing him of dishonesty… of being “a liar” and “a thief”). The ‘penalty schedule’ for Slams, AKA as the rules, shows the umpire did the right thing for someone who has committed three offences. (By the way, some other players, men and women, are given warnings for coaching.) The claim of unfair treatment compared to other players, or even sexism, can only stand up to scrutiny if other players, especially men (if the claim is about sexism), are shown to have committed three offences and didn’t receive a game penalty. In other words, the comparison of other players having abused an umpire and not being penalised a game, or even a point, is irrelevant, if it was a first offence in a match. It’s the three offences context which matters here. The WTA, Sue Barker and a host of other media outlets who like to jump on the sexism bandwagon, seem to be totally wrong and are ignoring the context of the game penalty.

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  4. I am glad The Moo, unlike the mainstream news media, put the emphasis on Osaka winning the tournament.
    From the video I saw on YT, probably recorded by a person on their smartphone, Osaka had more pace on her shots than Williams. The stats show Osaka had 6 aces and 73% 1st serves in to Serena’s 3 aces and only 55% 1st serve in. Serna had 6 Dfs to Osaka’s 1. Winners and UFEs were about equal for each player.
    Osaka, on this day, had a better serve, more pace on the groundies and better movement, which equalies a win.

    Osaka wins the USO, but Williams wins the media exposure.

    The answer to the court side coaching, is simply to allow it, as they will never stop it.

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    • I questioned whether to mention the drama at all but it had to be done, especially for anyone who hadn’t watched the match. Not surprised that the news sites all focused on Serena, definitely for me the emphasis has to be on Naomi.

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    • The drama is fodder to get conversations going but really nothing can be done about it.
      It’s rather unfortunate that application of the rules will always be subjective. It’s the human aspect. This series of umpiring incidents at the tournament should push the ITF to get proactive about the consistency issues. For those directly involved in the game, especially the players, it is probably always at the back of their minds.
      Hawk-eye is great, but I’m not sure if the Umpires could be replaced by some algorithm or drone. Maybe in the future.

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      • One could question WHY we have a rule for coaching in the first place. If it’s something both parties do already then nobody is at an advantage… so it’s not actually cheating in any way. Not when “coaching” is motioning for a player to serve to the left or go to the forehand. These tactics would likely have already been discussed anyway prior to the match.

        It’s like with the whole serving clock. Last night it was impossible for Del Potro and Djokovic to stick to it because of how noisy the crowds were between points. And yet if it hadn’t been for “Serenagate”, Novak would almost definitely have gotten warnings over the time taken between points.

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  5. Hi James. I just wanted to say I really enjoy reading your blog. I think you are a great blogger, because you always try to see the best in everybody. (I am sorry if I offended anybody. I just felt I had to post my opinion somewhere 🙈). Keep up the good work

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  6. Thank you James! What a wonderful review all about Naomi! She didn’t get much credit so far or at least not enough credit for the last two weeks. She played a great match and was all composed when the drama unfolded. This is amazing when considering Naomi’s young age. I’m officially a fan now. I’d love to see her winning a lot more grand slams!!!!!!

    To all the drama:
    – Yes, PM was coaching and Serena didn’t even see it..That’s why I find it quite tough to issue a warning. I think a soft warning would have been ok. On the other hand, Ramos was allowed to do so.
    – The second warning was right.. I think there are no double standards when destroying your racket.
    – The third one is critical IMO… Serena definitely overreacted when calling him a liar. She is such a champion and she shouldn’t be so affected by a first warning that happened 15 min ago. She is a role model and I wished she’d taken a deep breath and played on without arguing because the match itself was great. However, Ramos could have been more sensitive about the situation… he could have issued a soft warning beforehand. He could have handled the situation so much better. …sooo conclusion: it was a mixture of both and I think no one could be really blamed. Just want to add that I don’t think it was sexist behaviour… Ramos definitely is one of the stricter referees and Nadal has had problems with him too.

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    • Thanks, Murphy! And thanks for your comment. I tend to agree with all your points. It’s just such a shame that this has overshadowed Osaka’s moment. I would be surprised if she doesn’t win any more Slams. I’m fed up of all the news articles about the drama but it is to be expected!

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    • I was agreeing with you until your view on Serena’s third offence, the abuse of the umpire. The penalty schedule in the rules clearly states that phrases like the ones she used against him are abuse. See my comment above in reply to Peter. This was a third offence and clearly so. To be generous: a soft warning would perhaps have been okay if she had objected once to the cheating warning and to the point penalty, and then left it. But she didn’t. She went back again and again to harangue the umpire. Every chance she got she took to point, accuse and harass.

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      • Well even male players like Djokovic are saying that Ramos was the one who instigated the events by being unnecessarily and unusually harsh in his actions. Deciding to be Mr Jobsworth in a Grand Slam Final and goading a person under an immense amount of pressure is not okay. If he had handled things differently, it’s unlikely any of this would have gone down.

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  7. Sunday’s Big Match —– USO Girls Junior Championship
    X Wang(Chn) def C Burel(Fr) 7-6, 6-2
    Wang is a tall, 5-9, player with big ground strokes, while Burel, 5-5, is a defender. Burel had a lot of tape on her right shoulder, which may have affected her game. Neither player is a big server, with both averaging about 80 mph on their 1st serve. Wang’s power won over Burel’s defense. Both players will have to develop a bigger serve to be successful in the WTA.
    Wang, 5’9, is very tall for a Chinese female who’s average height is 5’3.
    The Haitian/Japanese Osaka at 5’11 would tower over the average 5’2 Japanese female.

    Iga Swiatek(Pol), Wimb junior champ, won her 2nd 60K ITF in 2 weeks, and now a ranking of #179.

    Sabalenka(R#20) is the top ranked player in either event this week. The next ranked player is #38 Matic.

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  8. Quebec City
    Lepchenko(R#110) def Sabalenka 6-4,7-6(R#20)

    This match shows the depth in WTA tennis today. A 32 year old war horse having a good day beats a 20 year old star having an off day. When Sab went for her big power shots, she missed most of the time, so she switch to 80% power plan B, but Sab’s plan B is Lep’s plan A. Lep’s aggressive defensive game was on. Everytime Sab hit a short ball Lep attacked. Sab beat Lep 6 months ago in IW, but from the stats it appeared Lep had an off day at IW as she only hit 50% 1st serves, compared to today’s 70% 1st serves in.
    It appeared to me that Sab was unmotivated, possibly thinking this should be an easy win. Lep, ranked #19 in 2012, was highly motivated and was looking for a big upset.

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  9. News about British players; Heather Watson’s having a good run in Quebec at the moment, beating Monica Nicolescu in the first round in Quebec and then the 16 year old Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez in round 2. Naomi Broady’s not doing so well though, going down with a pair of bakery products (6-1, 6-1) to Petra Martic in the first round.

    In other news; it’s A K Schmiedlova’s birthday today and she’s through to the third round in Japan after Poots retired from their first round match and a three-setter over Viktoria Golubic. Genie Bouchard’s slump continues with a two-set loss to Nao Hibino in the same tournament (the second one in a month; she also lost to Hibino at the US Open).

    Aga Radwanska’s been talking about maybe calling it a day after the Asian swing if her results don’t improve. She’ll be missed if she does go that’s for certain.

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    • I saw a little of the Bouchard/Hibino match and Bouchard looked slow, with Hibino hitting passing shot left and right. On an occasional point Bouch would look highly motivated but most of the time she would return to her normal malaise attitude.

      The Rad keeps playing in the big tournaments, but her ranking is so low (R#59) she has a good chance of playing a top ten player in the first round, which could result in her ranking going lower. IMO if she wants to play next year, she should play in the smaller events, such as, Quebec City or Hiroshima to boost her confidence and especially her ranking so she doesn’t have to play a top ten in the 1st round. But, the big events pay big appearance money, so that’s a factor.
      I saw somewhere that The Rad said she would not play in the qualies. For a “queen of the court” ranked in the top ten since she was 19 y/o, it would be a big psychological step down to be forced to play in the qualies.
      In the early part on 2017 she was sick and lost a lot of weight. It seems to me that she never regained her form prior to being sick. Which is sad, because her unusual game made her one of my favorites.

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      • I hope she changes her decision and does play in the qualies. It would be a sign that she accepts that she’s getting older, knows she’s almost certainly past her peak but still wants to play the game that’s given so much to her (and that she’s given so much to). It would send a powerful signal to other players that they don’t have to quit the game just because they’re past their peak.

        She’s one of my favourites too. Though players often talk as if they’re unaware of it, they like other sportspeople are in the entertainment business and Aga’s one of the most consistently entertaining players out there.

        Genie Bouchard? I think a lot of her problem now is motivation rather than any great falling off in ability. There was a match she played against Aga about a year ago in which Aga was comfortably ahead and seemed to be cruising to victory until it got to match point, when Genie suddenly seemed to wake up and decide that she wasn’t going to lose without a fight. Aga still won, but she had to really work for it (and paid tribute to Genie in her on-court interview afterwards). Genie seems to play well against Maria Sharapova too.

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  10. Quebec City
    Pegula(R#227) def Martic(R#38, and 2nd seed)
    The total unknown(to me) qualifier Jessica Pegula,24 y.o, is ripping through the draw in Quebec City. The only set she lost was to little Lauren Davis in the qualies.
    But,
    She next meets Sofia Kenin, 19 y/o, who just beat Puig 6-3,6-1 to get into the semi. Kenin is also having a great run and has not lost a set.

    Like

    • Pegula is the daughter of a multi-billionaire who made his fortune in the natural gas industry after starting out with an investment of $7,500.

      Like

  11. Hip Hip Hooray
    The Grand Slam Board has reversed its idiotic decision to go to a 16 seeded player draw next year. The 32 seeded player draw will remain.
    Although, I still believe the GSs should have a 64 seeded player draw.

    Like

    • 🙂 I knew you would rejoice! Maybe, the board, secretly, must have figured this wasn’t the best climate to be giving the women a different set of rules ….tsk.

      The intended effect though, I believe, is happening naturally.

      Like

  12. Hiroshima
    Anisimova(R#134) def Zhang(R#41) 7-6,7-5
    From the score one can see it was a very close match. The two girls are about the same height and play a similar game. The only unequal stat that stands out is ‘2nd serves won’ , 67% for Amanda and 41% for Zhang.
    The big takeaway was the 17 y/o Amanda playing even with the much more experienced Zhang, remaining calm, concentrating, playing her game and winning the very close match.

    Like

  13. Great wins from both Karo Pliskova (in Tokyo) and Kiki Bertens (Seoul), though to be fair Karo admitted that she could see Naomi was tired especially in the last set.

    At least Naomi’s done enough to dispel the notion that players always underperform once they’ve won a slam. Hope she has a good rest before the remainder of her season.

    Kiki’s title was the third of what has turned out to be a very impressive 2018 for her.

    Like

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