Naomi Osaka went where no one has been before and took the match to Bianca Andreescu

One word to describe Naomi Osaka’s performance against Bianca Andreescu?

Gutsy.

The former world number one never gave up and that’s a lesson you can’t teach in this sport.

Osaka never lost her cool despite being broken from 40-0 to begin the match, 5-1 down and got to 5-5 before losing eight points on the bounce. 3-1 down in the second set and won it 6-3 and was a break down in third but brought it back.

That’s gutsy.

This performance was one of her best since Melbourne. It’s been a high profile year for Naomi who recently won the title in her home Osaka with a coaching split from Sascha Bajin and recently split from Jermaine Jenkins.

Naomi’s father who has been there in the back seat a lot is now at the front of her team. Naomi has spoken about her tough season and how she has had to learn to have fun and not put too much pressure on herself.

She’s looked cool.

Composed, control and cool would be three words to describe her in that third set. Bianca didn’t deal with the pressure well in this match and Naomi did.

This was down to how she played.

Naomi let Bianca get stuck in early on and gain control of rallies. She’d send back her serve with interest and everything was big from the Canadian.

This was Bianca’s first completed match she has lost since February and only her fifth defeat of the season so to win Naomi had to do something no one has done and take it to her.

Since Bianca’s last defeat in February she has won Indian Wells, Rogers Cup, US Open and had a 17 match winning streak so this was new ground for both.

It was brave play from Naomi to do what she did.

She stepped in.

Screenshot 2019-10-04 at 17.41.39

image credit – WTA

Even Serena Williams couldn’t find a spot to push in. Baring in mind Naomi was 7/7 against top 10 coming into this match, no one could find a way.

Look at the numbers above, 93% inside the baseline in set two. That’s big. Bianca pushes with her ground strokes we know that but Osaka had to step up and push back and got the rewards.

93% of points won against a player who hasn’t lost in a few months is quite impressive.

That naturally would bring down the points won in the middle section from 64% to 57% as Bianca had the tables turned on her. You can see in that backhand and forehand corner I have highlighted above that the Canadian was pushing deeper and winning points but without the freedom and control she had before.

This change up from Osaka was brave but built on trust. She gave as good as she got and in the end she played better.

The way she took control, stepped in and played her game was fantastic to see and the composure from Naomi was incredible!

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