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Osaka vs Sevastova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Osaka tries to avoid third straight defeat to Sevastova in Brisbane

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 2 Jan 2019
  • Naomi Osaka faces Anastasija Sevastova in the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International on Thursday
  • Osaka vs Sevastova is live from Brisbane on Thursday at 3pm local/5am GMT
Naomi Osaka (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Anastasija Sevastova beat Naomi Osaka twice in 2018 – can the US Open champion get revenge at the Brisbane International on Thursday?

Naomi Osaka faces a tough test as she takes on Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the semifinals of WTA Brisbane.

Osaka’s 2018 season was one of unparalleled success as the 21-year-old rose from world no. 72 to world no. 4, winning two of the biggest titles of the season at the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in March and then going on to claim her maiden Grand Slam crown in stunning style at the US Open, dropping just one set on her way to the title.

Osaka reacts during defeat to Sevastova in Beijing in October (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Osaka also made the third round or better at every major, finished runner-up to Karolina Pliskova in Tokyo, reached the semifinals of Nottingham and Beijing and qualified for the WTA Finals Singapore for the first time.

But she also suffered 21 defeats during the course of the year, and she’s up against a player who inflicted two of them in Thursday’s Brisbane International quarterfinals – Anastasija Sevastova.

Sevastova beat Osaka in straight sets at the Qatar Total Open in February 2018, and then in the semifinals of Beijing’s China Open in October. 

Osaka got her first match win since beating Zhang Shuai in the Beijing quarterfinals last October when she defeated qualifier Destanee Aiava after a first-round bye in Brisbane. Osaka served nine aces to Aiava’s zero and saved all six break points she faced, breaking early in both sets for a fairly routine 6-3, 6-2 victory.

‘I didn't really serve that much during off-season, because I hurt my shoulder a little bit,’ Osaka said afterwards. ‘So honestly, I was just really glad that I could serve well today. 

‘But I think one of the things that I was working on more is like trusting my fitness level. And even though it didn't seem like it because I was blasting half of the balls, I was trying to construct the point a little bit, so I think that's what mattered to me the most.’

Osaka also said that in Aiava, she felt like she was facing a younger version of herself.

‘It's always great to start with a win,’ Osaka said. ‘I was really nervous coming out here because I felt like this is one of the matches I'm expected to win. 

‘But playing against someone like her who's a bit unpredictable and very strong, it was like one of those moments where I felt like I just have to stay really calm, but I couldn't. So I'm just really happy that I could play well.’

Facing Sevastova will be a totally different challenge for Osaka as she tries to make her first WTA semifinal of 2019.

Not only does the Latvian possess a crafty, varied game which relies heavily on superb defense and great finesse, with a magnificent drop shot that is one of the finest around, she is also a very experienced competitor.

Anastasija Sevastova (-/AFP/Getty Images)
Sevastova initially quit tennis in 2013, disillusioned, but returned revitalized in 2015 and has barely looked back since. She made two WTA finals and the US Open quarterfinals in 2016; in 2017, made the semifinals in Dubai and Madrid, won Mallorca and reached the US Open quarterfinals once again; and in 2018, compiled a 44-22 win-loss record, highlighted by making her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open, where she beat Elina Svitolina and defending champion Sloane Stephens before losing to Serena Williams.

Sevastova also reached the finals of Mallorca and Bucharest and the biggest final of her career in Beijing, where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki. She was also a semifinalist in Brisbane at the start of the year as well as in Charleston and Moscow, and is currently ranked a career high world no. 11. 

So far, Sevastova has cruised in Brisbane, ousting Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-3 before beating Great Britain’s Harriet Dart, a qualifier, for the loss of just two games.

Osaka, however, possesses significantly more power than either woman and should be a much bigger test. 

The Japanese-American player did win their first encounter, in Toronto in 2017, in straight sets, and she certainly has the power to hit through Sevastova. But it requires a great deal of patience and precision to do so. Focusing on building the points, as Osaka said she was trying to do against Aiava, will be one key to victory; not getting frustrated and losing emotional control in the face of Sevastova’s infuriating drop shots will be another. This is a great court for Sevastova, and she’s such a tricky opponent it would not be a big surprise if Osaka suffers her first defeat of 2019 at the Latvian’s hands on Thursday.

Osaka vs Sevastova tennis is live from Brisbane on Thursday at 3pm local/5am GMT

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Osaka vs Sevastova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Osaka tries to avoid third straight defeat to Sevastova in Brisbane

Naomi Osaka vs Anastasija Sevastova live streaming, preview and predictions for the WTA Brisbane International quarterfinal match on Thursday 3 January: Osaka lost twice to Sevastova in 2018, can she turn the tables to make her first semifinal of 2019?

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