MASON, Ohio — Down a set and a break to 17-year-old Coco Gauff, second-ranked Naomi Osaka fought again to drag out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win on the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday, her first WTA Tour occasion for the reason that French Open in late Might.
Osaka appreciated being examined so rapidly.
“It is positively been some time since I performed a troublesome opponent in a three-set match,” she mentioned. “It was positively actually robust, however I really feel actually good proper now. I am tremendous excited to play one other match.”
Osaka additionally mentioned on Wednesday that she was reflecting since briefly leaving after which returning to Monday’s information convention earlier than the match.
Throughout that information convention, Osaka put her head down and was preventing again tears after a reporter requested how her coaching for the upcoming hard-court season was progressing and for her ideas on the occasions in Haiti, the place a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck final week. Osaka then stepped away for 4 minutes earlier than returning.
Simply previous to that query, she was requested by reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer about how she balances “not being loopy about coping with us” with needing a media platform for her “outdoors pursuits.” Osaka took just a few lengthy pauses at that line of questioning, and the information convention moderator tried to maneuver on to the subsequent query. However Osaka insisted on making an attempt to raised perceive the query and he or she answered it.
“Truthfully, I used to be desirous about this for the reason that final time I sat right here,” Osaka mentioned on Wednesday. “I used to be questioning why I used to be so affected, I assume. Like what made me not need to do media within the first place. After which I used to be pondering, I used to be questioning if I used to be scared as a result of typically I might see headlines of gamers shedding after which the headline the subsequent day can be like ‘a collapse’ or ‘they are not that nice anymore.’
“So then I used to be pondering, me waking up daily, for me, I ought to really feel like I am successful, you recognize? Like, the selection to go on the market and play, to go see followers, that folks come out and watch me play, that itself is an accomplishment. I am undecided when alongside the best way I began desensitizing that. It began not being an accomplishment for me. So I felt like I used to be very ungrateful on that truth.”
Osaka, who gained the Australian Open in February, withdrew from the French Open earlier than her second-round match and skipped Wimbledon completely as she cited a necessity for a psychological well being break. She was eradicated within the spherical of 16 on the Tokyo Olympics after lighting the Olympic cauldron in her native Japan.
“I do not know. I feel positively this complete COVID factor was actually demanding with the bubbles and never seeing folks and never having the interactions,” Osaka mentioned on Wednesday. “However I feel, like, I assume seeing the state of the world, how every little thing is in Haiti, how every little thing is in Afghanistan proper now, is certainly actually loopy.
“And for me to only be hitting a tennis ball in america proper now, and have folks come and watch me play, is, I do not know. I might need to be myself on this state of affairs quite than anybody else on the planet. “
In different matches, top-ranked Ash Barty wanted a second-set tiebreaker to beat Heather Watson, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in a match postponed from Tuesday by rain. Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina.
Simona Halep, the twelfth seed, withdrew with a proper thigh damage.
Males’s prime seed Daniil Medvedev cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win in 59 minutes over wild card Mackenzie McDonald, and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was eradicated by ninth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz.
Each Olympic singles gold medalists, Alexander Zverev and Belinda Bencic, and males’s No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas all superior in straight units. Two-time Slam champion Garbine Muguruza and fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova additionally gained in straight units.
The Related Press contributed to this report.