Naomi Osaka Fights Back Against Coco Gauff to Earn a Spot at Cincinnati Open 2021 Round 3

Published 08/18/2021, 2:36 PM EDT
Aug 18, 2021; Mason, OH, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) reacts after returning a shot against Cori Gauff (USA) during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


Centre Court at the Cincinnati Open saw World No. 2 Naomi Osaka face American teenager Coco Gauff. In the pick of the second round clashes today, they faced each other for a spot in the third round of the tournament, while looking to build much needed momentum ahead of the US Open.

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Prior to today, Osaka and Gauff faced off twice. While Osaka won their match in the 2019 US Open, Gauff won their rematch in the 2020 Australian Open. Both matches took place in the Round of 32, and both finished in straight sets.

In their third match against each other, Osaka won an intense battle with the scoreline reading 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

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Naomi Osaka vs Coco Gauff: Set 1

Before the Cincinnati Open, Osaka announced she would donate all her prize money to relief efforts in Haiti after the Caribbean country suffered a devastating earthquake. Today, she entered Centre Court with a mask having the Haiti flag on it. Her gesture garnered praise from fans across the world.

Osaka started the match by serving first. She held her service game well, scoring her first ace of the match to take a 1-0 lead. Although she had two break points in the second game, Gauff saved them both with excellent strokes to tie the set at 1-1.

The next few games saw both players hold their serve well. However, the World No. 2 gifted Gauff a break in the ninth game. While the American worked well to go up 40-15, Osaka sent a forehand wide at the net. This rare unforced error on the Japanese star’s part saw her go behind 4-5.

The 17-year-old wasted little time in the very next game. Serving for the set, she put in excellent serves to clinch the set 6-4.

Osaka vs Gauff: Set 2

Just like the first set, Osaka served the first game in the second set. While the break came late in the first set, it came early in the second set. And once again, Gauff broke Osaka’s serve after the World No. 2 sent another forehand shot outside the court.

Aug 18, 2021; Mason, OH, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) reacts after returning a shot against Cori Gauff (USA) during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Despite struggling with her range, Osaka broke Gauff’s serve in the very next game, to tie the set 2-2. In the eighth game, the pressure seemed to catch up to the teenager as she dropped her serve to go 5-3 behind. In the ninth game, Gauff produced a shot which surprised everyone, including the World No. 2.

Osaka eventually closed out the set 6-3 by holding her serve, forcing a deciding third set.

Osaka vs Gauff: Set 3

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Gauff served the first game of the set after a short delay due to rain. However, Osaka took charge and raced to a 2-0 lead. Despite the American’s best efforts, Osaka found her confidence at the right time to close the set 6-4, and seal her place in the third round.

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She will face Swiss wildcard Jil Teichmann in the third round, with a potential showdown against Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic beckoning.

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Sanket Nair

643 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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