Naomi Osaka smacked her racket against Arthur Ashe Stadium's court. Moments later, she chucked her equipment, sending it bouncing and skidding halfway to the net. Then came a full-on spike adjacent the baseline.
Osaka's crippled was off. Her composure was gone. By the end, the assemblage was booing her for turning her backmost to the tribunal and taking excessively overmuch clip betwixt points.
Soon enough, Osaka's rubric defence astatine the U.S. Open was implicit successful the 3rd circular with a 5-7, 6-7 (2), 6-4 nonaccomplishment Friday nighttime to Leylah Fernandez, an 18-year-old from Canada who is ranked 73rd and ne'er had been this acold successful Grand Slam competition.
Osaka smacks ball into crowd
Still, Fernandez declared afterward: "Right earlier the match, I knew I was capable to win."
Osaka? She came successful with a 16-match winning streak astatine majors and 4 vocation trophies, each connected hard courts. But this was Osaka's archetypal Slam tourney since she pulled retired of the French Open earlier the 2nd circular to instrumentality a intelligence wellness interruption — she besides sat retired Wimbledon, earlier participating successful the Tokyo Olympics, wherever she lit the cauldron — and possibly the clip disconnected was an issue.
Another imaginable origin successful her nonaccomplishment to adjacent things retired portion serving for the triumph against the left-hander Fernandez astatine 6-5 successful the 2nd set: Osaka hadn't competed since Monday. That's due to the fact that the pistillate she was expected to conscionable successful the 2nd round, Olga Danilovic, withdrew due to the fact that she was sick.
Osaka, who near the tribunal aft 7 games to alteration outfits and enactment connected a highlighter-yellow dress, was rather bully down the agelong successful the opening set. She grabbed 12 of the past 13 points, including the past nine, with a interruption astatine emotion to spell up 6-5, and a clasp astatine emotion with the assistance of a brace of aces astatine 112 mph and 114 mph to extremity it.
Seemed connected way for a akin decision successful the 2nd set, starring 6-5 and serving. But erstwhile she sailed a forehand wide, Fernandez had her archetypal interruption of the lucifer to marque it 6-all.
"I conjecture I wanted to enactment connected tribunal a small spot longer. And I wanted to enactment connected a amusement for everybody here," Fernandez said. "One hr was not capable for maine to beryllium connected court."
And truthful began Osaka's downward spiral. She fell down 5-0 successful the ensuing tiebreaker, missing shots and displaying her vexation arsenic she occasionally has done successful the past — by flinging her racket.
Chair umpire Alison Hughes did not authorisation Osaka then, though aboriginal a informing was issued for hitting a shot into the stands.
"Honestly, I wasn't focusing connected Naomi," Fernandez said. "I was lone focusing connected myself and what I needed to do."
More to the point, Osaka was not astatine her best. She near the tribunal with a achromatic towel draped implicit her caput aft the 2nd set, past sat successful her changeover seat successful that aforesaid block-out-the-world manner, and ne'er truly got her crippled going the remainder of the way.
Fernandez surely had thing to bash with that, peculiarly due to the fact that of her serve.
She won 18 of 19 first-serve points — and ne'er faced a interruption constituent — successful the 3rd set.
Fernandez's knee-to-the-ground, quick-redirect benignant astatine the baseline is reminiscent of different lefty, Angelique Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion who won the 2016 U.S. Open.
And who conscionable truthful happens to beryllium the adjacent hostile for Fernandez.
"I'm going to enactment connected a amusement similar I did tonight," Fernandez said, "and we're going to spot however it goes."
Osaka threw her racket astatine slightest 3 times and was yet deed with a codification usurpation successful the 3rd acceptable erstwhile she deed the shot into the stands. She adjacent draped a towel implicit her caput arsenic she took a interruption pursuing her second-set loss.
Osaka played her archetypal Grand Slam since she pulled retired of the French Open successful precocious May for a intelligence wellness break.
Fernandez utilized her left-handed service to defeated two-time US Open quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi successful consecutive sets earlier knocking disconnected Osaka. She waved her arms and pumped her fist toward fans that cheered louder for her connected each precocious point.
Osaka glumly walked to the locker country portion Fernandez smiled and flashed 2 thumbs up successful celebration.
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