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Osaka vs Putintseva tennis live streaming, preview and predictions: Putintseva is 3-0 vs home favourite in Toray Pan-Pacific Open quarterfinals

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 20 Sep 2019
  • Naomi Osaka faces Yulia Putintseva in the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan-Pacific Open on Saturday
  • Osaka vs Putintseva is live from Osaka at 12pm local/4am BST
Naomi Osaka (PA Sports)

Top seed Naomi Osaka faces Yulia Putintseva in the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan-Pacific Open on Saturday after rain postponed the match from Friday.

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After losing all three of their previous encounters, can Naomi Osaka find a way to beat Yulia Putintseva and keep her chances of reaching a third Toray Pan Pacific Open final alive when they face off in Saturday’s quarterfinals?

Osaka and Putintseva were scheduled to play on Friday, but heavy rain in Osaka postponed the quarterfinal, as well as two other quarterfinal matches, to Saturday. The winner of Saturday's match will return later in the day to face either Camila Giorgi or Elise Mertens in the semifinals.

Osaka reached the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in 2016 (losing to Caroline Wozniacki) and 2018 (losing to Karolina Pliskova) but she has never entered the event under such pressure: Both as a home favourite who is now a huge star after winning the US Open last year and the Australian Open in January, and as a top player whose results have not been all she would wish in recent months.

Osaka in action (PA Sports)
The world no. 4 hasn’t made it past the quarterfinals of a tournament since the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart in April, and could not make it that far at the US Open where she was the defending champion, falling in the round of 16 to Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

Osaka has recently split with coach Jermaine Jenkins, who came on board in March, and although she is currently in qualifying position for the WTA Finals Shenzhen – in seventh place in the latest standings – she could still do with bolstering her challenge and in general finding some level of confidence and rhythm in her game ahead of the big events in Wuhan, Beijing and, perhaps, Shenzhen.

The world no. 4 got off to a decent if somewhat ragged start at the Toray Pan Pacific Open against Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Komova, having to come back from an 0-3 deficit in the first set but winning seven of the next nine games to take the first 7-5. In the second set, Osaka trailed again by an early break but levelled more quickly and closed out a 7-5, 6-3 victory in 91 minutes, offsetting six double faults with 13 aces.

‘I was very nervous playing this match, because I felt like I really wanted to win,’ Osaka said afterwards. ‘After I won, I felt relieved, and also, I guess, happy with certain parts of how I was playing.’

She added:

‘I know in the first set, I just started slow, and then in the second set, I just made a lot of really bad decisions in the first game. Other than that, I knew that I was the power player, and that I was the one that was kind of dictating how the match would go. It gave me a little bit of comfort knowing that if I just dialed down my unforced errors, I was going to win.’

Osaka didn’t show any sign of the knee injury she incurred in Cincinnati, where she retired in the quarterfinals against Sofia Kenin and for which she wore protective strapping at the US Open, but she did express dissatisfaction with a low first-serve percentage – 44% for the match – saying it hadn’t been great since before she injured her knee.

The top seed will need her first serve, and every other thing she can muster, as she takes on Yulia Putintseva on Saturday.

Yulia Putintseva (PA Sports)
Putintseva has become a bit of a nightmare opponent for Osaka. The Kazakh, twice a quarterfinalist at the French Open, beat Osaka in Hobart in January 2018 and has defeated her twice this year in much higher-profile matches – in Birmingham in June, and then in the first round of Wimbledon in July. All three victories have come in straight sets.

Putintseva hasn’t had too much success at the Toray Pan-Pacific Open in the past, although she did get a top-10 win over Madison Keys there in 2016, but she has come through her matches so far in fairly straightforward fashion, defeating lucky loser Katarzyna Kawa 6-4, 7-6(4) before dusting qualifier Varvara Flink 6-1, 6-1 (both women are ranked outside the top 100).

It’s been a pretty good year for Putintseva, who comes into Osaka ranked world no. 36. She claimed her first WTA Tour title in Nurnberg in May, and has won back-to-back matches at some big events: A quarterfinalist at Premier events in Sydney and Birmingham, she also made the last 16 at the Miami Open and Madrid Open, and the third round of the US Open. Narrowly defeated last week in Zhengzhou by Elina Svitolina, who squeaked past her in a third-set tie-break, Putintseva has opted to play Osaka rather than defending last year’s runner-up points in Guangzhou and she’s put herself in a good position for that decision to pay off handsomely as she comes into this match against Osaka.

Looking for her fourth win over a top-10 opponent in 2019, Putintseva should come into this one with a lot of confidence after her previous meetings with Osaka, which saw her able to soak up the Japanese-Haitian player’s pace and power, frustrate her into unforced errors and keep her constantly on the back foot with some great returning. Putintseva won’t have any problem playing the villain to the home crowd, either, and unless Osaka radically improves her serving, and delivers one of her most confident, clever performances off the ground, it looks unlikely that the top seed will be able to avoid suffering another defeat to the feisty Kazakh on Saturday.

Osaka vs Putintseva Toray Pan-Pacific Open tennis is live from Osaka on Saturday at 12pm local/4am BST

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Osaka vs Putintseva tennis live streaming, preview and predictions: Putintseva is 3-0 vs home favourite in Toray Pan-Pacific Open quarterfinals

Naomi Osaka vs Yulia Putintseva live streaming, preview and predictions for the WTA Osaka quarterfinal match on Friday 20 September: Osaka has never beaten Putintseva and it’s difficult to see how she’s going to find solutions in Toray Pan-Pacific Open quarterfinals

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