Muguruza, despite her good tennis moment, much better than last year when she reached the final of the Australian Open, said goodbye to the tournament this Sunday in the round of 16 after losing to Naomi Osaka 4-6, 6-4 and 7 -5, in 1 hour and 55 minutes. It was ahead or tail in which the only one could win after a show at the height of the two protagonists.
The victory train escaped Garbi in the tenth game of the third set when he missed two match points at 5-3 and 15-40. Osaka knew how to temper the nerves in that situation and it was worth it to him to stay alive in the competition thanks to decanting the last four games in his favor. In sports in general and in tennis in particular, if something does not lie, it is the statistics and the Spanish have not passed the fourth round in the ‘Grand Slam’ in eight of the last nine. The only exception was in the last edition of the Australian Open. The draws of the draw also play and the champion of two greats ran into another former world number one like her early.
It was one of the stellar duels of the seventh day although the organization decided to relegate it to the opening of the day and not the closing. Osaka started with a direct service to mark the field. The Japanese, who had never played with the Spanish, knew perfectly how to hurt her rival. Move, move and move Garbine from one side of the track to the other. The Japanese based in the United States is the one who gets the best out of the tournament. He made a break in the second game of the match and reached a 2-0 start. Muguruza had only been broken once in the first round with Margarita Gasparyan of Russia. Conchita Martínez’s pupil reacted immediately after with another break.
In a seen and not seen, he signed the tie at two on the scoreboard. Naomi, as always, was impassive in both victory and defeat. His poker face is famous. Osaka always plays all or nothing. She never passes more than three balls and that forces her to be excessively perfect. He finished with 40 winners for 36 unforced errors. He positions himself in front of the white line and begins to distribute until he breaks the ball. Few can keep up with him. Garbiñe did it because he was above 90 percent effective with the first serve for almost the entire opening set. That is why he was ahead in scoring.
Naomi never got tired of failing and delivered the service as soon as the second set started. The alarm lights sounded on his tennis shoes. He had lost the last four games. His tactic was just as gray as the day in Victoria’s capital. The rival did not offer him holes to attack. The highest-paid athlete on the planet was not going to give up so easily and returned to the scene when few expected. A second ‘break’ equalized the continuation 2-2. Osaka smashed the ball with his serve, raising his top speed to 193 kilometers per hour. The world number three had three set points in the tenth round.
Muguruza saved the first two with serve and a winning backhand. He could not with the third with an accurate return. Osaka had the first opportunity to break the match with a breakpoint in the fourth game of the tiebreaker. Garbiñe saved him on the net. The Spanish did not fail immediately after to take the lead 3-2 and serve thanks to a double fault from her opponent. He paid for it with his racket. Then came her reaction out of nowhere, which elevates her as one of the favorites in the painting. Not in vain has he been crowned at the US Open at 23 years old.
Despite the defeat, the natural tennis player from Caracas will not lose points in the ranking. A finalist last year benefits that the ranking remains frozen until mid-March. His next appointment on the calendar is the WTA 1,000 in Dubai, in early March. It will be a good opportunity to confirm the good feelings at the beginning of the course. For a place in the semifinals, the Japanese tennis player from Taipei, Su-Wei Hsieh, awaits. The Asian veteran, 35, gave a good account of Marketa Vondrousova by 6-4 and 6-2, achieving her best result in a major. Spain, which started with 14 players (10 men and 4 women) in the individual teams, has the same as always Rafael Nadal.