Naomi Osaka Fends Off Two Match Points to Beat Garbine Muguruza at Australian Open 2021

Published 02/13/2021, 9:11 PM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her fourth round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza REUTERS/Loren Elliott


A ripple of excitement spread through every tennis fan as Naomi Osaka and Garbine Muguruza played against one another. In their first-ever career battle, the former World No. 1’s fought for a quarterfinals spot at the Australian Open 2021. And after more than an hour of prime-time tennis, the Japanese star hurdled down her opponent 6-4, 4-6, 5-7.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Undoubtedly, they both deserved to go ahead in the tournament. But since tennis demands only one winner, it all came down to who played better on the given day.

To get the proceedings on, last year’s runner-up in the tournament, Muguruza won the toss and decided to receive first. Consequently, the 2019 Australian Open champion Osaka won the first game with two powerful aces.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Muguruza puts young-gun Osaka on a backseat

The 23-year-old started positively, breaking Muguruza’s first serve of the match. But the Spaniard recovered her loss quickly, held her next serve, and leveled the opening set at 2-2.

Following that, both players maintained their success on the serve. While Osaka hit some clean and beautiful winners, the 2-time Grand Slam champion led with big hits.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in action during her fourth-round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Loren Elliott

However, in the 9th game, Muguruza got a break as a result of her discipline. On the other side, the Japanese superstar did not look settled into the match, and her opponent capitalized on the same.

Serving for the first set, the 27-year-old Spaniard started hitting the gears up. Resultantly, Muguruza took the first set away from the 3-time Grand Slam champion. The score: 6-4 in favor of the Spaniard.

Naomi fights her way back into the match

Continuing with her rhythm, Muguruza broke the Japanese’s first serve coming in the second set. However, breaking back again, Osaka pushed herself back into the match.

From here on out, the intensity of the match only fired up. Naomi, who was trailing a set, needed to shake the formidable spirit of her opponent. Meanwhile, the Spaniard’s passion was on full display and gave nothing away to the Japanese superstar.

At 4-4 in the second set, the reigning US Open champion held her serve with an ace, with a game away from the second set. And she secured the second set with an unreturnable groundstroke close to the line. Naomi fights back: 6-4, 4-6.

The final battle between Naomi Osaka and Garbine Muguruza

To book a spot against Taiwanese professional Hsieh Su-wei, Osaka and Muguruza battled ferociously in the decider set. However, it was the Japanese player who found herself committing easy but very costly mistakes.

Frustrated with herself, Osaka banged the racket on the court but couldn’t save the inevitable break. Yet again, the composure and quality of the Spaniard came to be the differentiator between the two. Muguruza leading at 3-2.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her fourth-round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza REUTERS/Loren Elliott

As a final fight, the Japanese saved two match points, asking the Spaniard to serve for the match. Finally, Osaka found her nerves in the right place; she took the lead 5-6 in the final set.

Serving to stay in the match, Muguruza lost control for the first time and it cost her the seat in the Last 8. And the way the Japanese star picked herself up when she was down is the reason why she has won three major tournaments.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Conclusively, in the battle of nerves, the 3rd seed came through and will continue her journey at the Australian Open 2021.

However, losing only two sets (against Osaka) throughout the tournament, the Spaniard will look to carry forward her performance throughout the 2021 season.

Can Naomi win her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this year?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Serena Williams vs Aryna Sabalenka, Australian Open 2021: Preview, Head-to-Head and Prediction

3 months ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Purav Joshi

670 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT