With back-to-back wins: Naomi Osaka rises once again

Naomi Osaka

On the clay or grass, Naomi Osaka can under perform. But on hard courts, when she is very focus and positive, the Japanese/American can be driven. On Sunday, Osaka beat the No. 1 Ash Barty in three sets in Beijing. The Aussie Barty likely will stay at No. 1 at the end of the year if she plays decent at the WTA Finals. Osaka is currently No. 3 and has a chance to move up.

The Beijing victory follows Osaka’s win in Osaka, her “home city.”

Does it really matter who is No. 1, given that both Osaka and Barty have won 2019 Slams? Yes, it is. When they play each other, then they know they must make their mark against the best. That is very important. You have to show up, lift up your chin, open your eyes, and then you have to latch it in. You have to be locked in. You have to whip your powerful forehands and jump on the returns. Go to the net, put it away, and swing hard into the corners from both sides. In the third set, Osaka did that, by being aggressive and brainy.

Both of them will show up at the new venue, Shenzhen, in the WTA Finals. It is possible that they will play each other again.That could be a spectacular match.

Also in Beijing, Dominic Thiem won the tournament, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets. When Thiem started playing, he was already very good on the clay, but on the hardcourts, he was so-so. However, over the past two years, he practiced a lot, he listened and he willed himself to move himself forward and into the court. Also, he can go for it and when it is close, he can be combative. Not only did Thiem beat the young Tsitsipas, he beat the three Grand Slam champ Andy Murray and No. 9 Karen Khachanov. That was a great week by the Austrian.

Speaking of, Khachanov has a good shot to join the ATP Finals. The No. 8 Kei Nishikori is hurt and who isn’t playing, so the Russian should pass him in a couple weeks. Maybe even this week in Shanghai.

There are a few other players to have a chance to advance into the top eight competitors in London in November: Roberto Bautista Agut, Gael Monfils, Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini.

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