Two of the most exciting young stars in women’s tennis collide at the 2021 Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday as Naomi…
Two of the most exciting young stars in women’s tennis collide at the 2021 Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday as Naomi Osaka takes on Coco Gauff.
With a combined age of just 40, the talented pair are in the early stages of what could prove to be an era-defining rivalry in the coming years.
The build-up to the match has been dominated by Osaka’s off-court issues, with the world number two breaking down in tears on Monday in her first press conference since the controversy over her refusal to speak to media at the French Open.
Osaka pulled out of Roland Garros shortly after and also missed Wimbledon in order to take a break from tennis to focus on her mental health.
She returned to compete at the Olympic Games on home soil in Tokyo, where she lit the flame at the opening ceremony before going on to lose in the Third Round.
The reigning Australian Open champion and four-time Grand Slam singles winner has been short of match action in contrast to many of her rivals in recent months, but will be keen to get back to business and let her tennis do the talking in the build-up to the US Open.
She faces a tough opening test against world number 24 Gauff – quarter-finalist in this year’s French Open and a winner of the WTA Parma this season.
The 17-year-old sensation defeated Hsieh Su-wei 6-1, 6-2 earlier in the week and has experience of beating Osaka in a major event, having done so at the 2020 Australian Open.
With Gauff in superb form this season and Osaka beginning to regain her sharpness on court, we expect a close-run contest in Cincinnati and are opting for over 21.5 total games to be played.
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