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Osaka vs Hsieh WTA Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Upbeat Osaka targets third win over Hsieh this season

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 15 Aug 2019
  • Naomi Osaka vs Hsieh Su-Wei is live from Cincinnati around 2.30pm local time on Thursday (7.30pm BST)
  • Osaka has won two of their three meetings this season
Naomi Osaka (PA Images)

Naomi Osaka and Hsieh Su-Wei clash for the fourth time this season with a quarter-final spot in the Western & Southern Open on the line in Cincinnati on Thursday.

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World No. 1 Naomi Osaka targets her third win over the unorthodox Hsieh Su-Wei this season as the pair square off in the Round of 16 in Cincinnati on Thursday. The match has been scheduled out on Court 10, which is the fifth biggest court at the Western & Southern Open (and doesn’t even have hawk-eye). The decision from tournament organisers has prompted some debate pre-match - when was the last time a World No. 1 was scheduled on Court 10 of any tournament? And when you consider some of the other matches scheduled on the show courts (for example Richard Gasquet vs Diego Schwartzman on Centre Court!), the move is even more baffling.

Nevertheless, Osaka won’t be too concerned, especially with her new-found approach to tennis - namely giggling and laughing at various stages throughout the match. The Japanese has talked extensively about trying to enjoy her tennis again, and from the outside looking in, it certainly looks like that is the case, with a jovial Osaka claiming her first ever match win in Cincinnati on Wednesday, beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich by a 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2 scoreline. Sasnovich stayed with the World No. 1 during the first two sets, but Osaka was able to raise her level in the decider to register her fourth straight win over the Belarusian.

“I think I just wanted to carry on like the sort of happy laughing vibe from Toronto, but I think I was a bit too, like, giggly,” Osaka said when asked about her upbeat mood throughout the match. “There were some points I didn't really have to laugh but I did, because it was either that or, like, get a little frustrated. So it was a bit hard kind of juggling that. 
“Some of them I was laughing at my errors because it was so ridiculous, and then other times I was just laughing because, like, I was in a good mood.”

Back on her favourite surface of hardcourts, Osaka will be hoping to regain her best tennis this week in Cincinnati and of course later this month when she attempts to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time at the U.S. Open. The 21-year-old broke through in extraordinary circumstances last season in New York to secure her maiden major title, beating Serena Williams in that now infamous final, and backing it up with some solid results to end 2018, reaching the final in Tokyo and semi-finals in Beijing.

Osaka went on to capture her second Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open and appeared set to dominate the tour, but after a surprising split with coach Sascha Bajin, the Japanese has struggled significantly, failing to beat a top 20 player since January and bowing out early in most big events, including in the opening round of Wimbledon and third round of Roland Garros. But, in saying that, Osaka hasn’t fully mastered the natural surfaces yet, and she’s still 25-9 for the season, which is a solid record. It looked as if Osaka made good strides in a quarter-final defeat to Serena Williams last week in Toronto - can she make it back to the last eight when she faces a familiar foe on Thursday?

Hsieh Su-Wei had never won a main draw match at the Western & Southern Open before this week and last scored a qualifying victory all the way back in 2010, but the 33-year-old veteran has found her groove in Cincinnati this time, defeating Wang Qiang and Jennifer Brady in straight sets to reach the Round of 16 for the first time.

Hsieh was ranked as high as No. 25 back in 2013 but quickly tumbled out of the top 100 the following season as she struggled to find the right balance with all the options at her disposal. However, Hsieh started to recapture her best tennis last season, making the fourth round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, beating World No. 1 Simona Halep at the latter, winning her third WTA title in Hiroshima and reaching the semi-finals of Auckland, Rabat, Seoul and Tianjin to end the season inside the top 30.

The 33-year-old is currently ranked No. 30 coming into Cincinnati, reaching the semi-finals in Auckland and the third round at the Australian Open, where she took a set off eventual championOsaka, while she continued her great form into February and March, beating Karolina Pliskova (along with Angelique Kerber) on her way to the Dubai semi-finals and toppling Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki to make the quarter-finals in Miami. Hsieh didn’t have a great clay season but she was okay at Wimbledon, defeating two former semi-finalists in Jelena Ostapenko and Kirsten Flipkens in straight sets to reach the third round, where she was bundled out in three by Pliskova. Hsieh opened her U.S. Open Series with a quarter-final run in Washington, but was beaten in the opening round of Toronto by Sofia Kenin.

We know Hsieh has the game to trouble Osaka - she beat her in Miami and was on the verge of knocking her out of the Australian Open in January. Osaka’s only straight sets win came on the clay of Stuttgart, but that is not Hsieh’s surface of choice at all. I think this one will go three sets again, but as to who wins is a toss of the coin. I’m leaning on the side of Osaka - she’s seemingly enjoying her tennis again and playing on hardcourts, which will always give her an edge. Hsieh will be a menace once again, but I’m backing Osaka to come out on top in three.

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Osaka vs Hsieh WTA Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Upbeat Osaka targets third win over Hsieh this season

Naomi Osaka and Hsieh Su-Wei clash for the fourth time this season with a quarter-final spot in the Western & Southern Open on the line in Cincinnati on Thursday.

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