Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka came back from a set down to beat seed No.22 Belinda Bencic and reach the 2022 Miami Open final, 4-6 6-3 6-4.
The first player to endanger her opponent’s serve was Osaka, as she held two break points in the second game, but Bencic saved them both and proceeded to go a double break up, 4-1. Even though Osaka managed to get one break back, she couldn’t recover completely and Bencic took the first set in 41 minutes.
In the second set, Bencic fought back from 0-2 to 2-2, but dropped serve in her next service game, allowing Osaka to build an insurmountable 5-2 lead.
The world No.77 Osaka, the fourth-lowest-ranked semifinalist in the tournament’s history, was close to breaking Bencic in the third game of the deciding set, but even though the Swiss managed to hold serve then, the Japanese got into higher gear and won three games in a row to serve for victory. The triumph didn’t come immediately, though, as Bencic approached Osaka from 2-5 to 4-5. In the following game, Osaka once again served for the victory and this time she completed the game by losing just one point.
The 24-year-old Osaka was very emotional after the match. She was crying in her chair before the on-court interview.
Bencic is projected to climb from No.28 WTA ranking to No.21 after the Miami Open. Osaka entered the tournament with her place in Top 100 under threat, but now she’s projected to move as high as No.36 by reaching the final and No.30 if she wins the title.