Naomi Osaka is one of the favourites for the US Open title: Can she maintain that status as she takes…
Naomi Osaka is one of the favourites for the US Open title: Can she maintain that status as she takes on Camila Giorgi in the second round on Wednesday?
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Osaka vs Giorgi is live from New York on Wednesday 2 September, time TBC
A left hamstring injury incurred in the latter stages of her Western & Southern Open semifinal match against Elise Mertens prevented Naomi Osaka from facing Victoria Azarenka in her first WTA final of 2020, but Osaka weathered the injury to get a first-round win under her belt at the US Open, although she wasn’t able to prevent Misaki Doi from dragging her to a decider.
Osaka faces another talented and even tougher opponent in Camila Giorgi on Wednesday, as the hard-hitting Italian attempts to prevent the fourth seed from reaching the last 32 in New York.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Osaka vs Giorgi: Head-to-head
Osaka won her only previous match against Giorgi 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in September 2018.
Osaka vs Giorgi: Preview
Osaka’s hopes of capturing a second US Open title this fortnight – which she was hotly tipped to do after an impressive run to the final at the Western & Southern Open – took a blow when she injured her left hamstring late in the semifinal against Mertens. Ironically, Osaka’s stand against racist police violence – a cause she remains publicly committed to, wearing a mask that read ‘Breonna Taylor’ on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night – which led to the semifinal being played on Friday, not Thursday as originally scheduled, left the world no. 10 short on precious recovery time ahead of the US Open, not that this consideration would weigh with Osaka.
The fourth seed had won her only previous encounter with compatriot Misaki Doi in straight sets, but after dominating the first set on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, she found herself dragged to a decider despite breaking Doi back when Doi served for the second set, and having three break points which would have seen her serving for the match had she converted any of them.
Osaka won the third set as one-sidedly as she had claimed the first, but being taken the distance in the first round was the last thing she needed and her performance for me wasn’t too convincing – if she keeps allowing her opponents back into the match, sooner or later she will encounter one who won’t go away easily in the decider.
It’s difficult to predict whether Giorgi will prove to be that opponent or not. A top-30 player in 2018, the season which saw her make her solitary Wimbledon quarterfinal so far, Giorgi always draws the eye because of the way that she hammers every ball that comes to her as hard as possible, going for a winner on everything. It’s earned her some big wins in the past, nine of them against top-10 players, but it’s also seen her lose plenty of matches which would have been categorised as ‘winnable’.
Giorgi is absolutely no easy out, however, despite her current, relatively low ranking of world no. 74, which owes much to an injury-decimated 2019 season in which she played only 11 matches during the first six months. Like some other European-based players, she chose to take advantage of the opportunity to get match practice in ahead of the US Open even if it was on clay, playing Palermo and Prague and going 4-2 with a run to the semifinals in Palermo which was only stopped by the eventual champion Fiona Ferro 5-7 in the third.
Giorgi edged past Alison van Uytvanck in a typical seesaw match in the first round of the US Open, beating the Belgian 2-6, 6-1, 7-5. There’s little question that from a broader perspective, Osaka is the superior player, and she should be the winner on Wednesday. But the opportunity is there for Giorgi – particularly if she’s returning well – to make life extremely difficult for Osaka.