Naomi Osaka may be a two-time Grand Slam champion and a No.1 player but she’s still an inexperienced player on clay. In the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the 21-year-old Japanese faced a big obstacle in Donna Vekic, but the young superstar’s composure was as impressive as ever, as she recovered from a 5-1 deficit in the third set to confidently win the match in a tiebreak.
Interestingly, the first two sets featured just one break point each and both were converted, in the first set by Osaka, in the second by Vekic. The 25th-ranked Vekic lost the first set by a small margin, as just a couple of errors in the sixth game allowed Osaka to break her serve and build momentum, closing the set with a love hold. Late into the second set Vekic started her surge, winning five games in a row to race to a 3-0 lead in the third set, and then to 5-1.
Serving for the match, Croatia’s Vekic choked when faced with a giant victory over a world No.1 player, while Osaka kept her cool and slowly started coming back, leveling to 5-5 and soon afterwards forcing a tiebreak in which she confidently earned three consecutive match points and converted the second one when Vekic sent a forehand long. Final score: 6-3 4-6 7-6(4).
The 22-year-old Vekic must be desperate after this loss, as she played really well and served for the match twice in the third set. In contrast, Osaka will have good memories of this Stuttgart quarterfinal, as she had hoped for:
“I just wanted to have good memories”
— WTA (@WTA) April 26, 2019