Just five days before a first-ever Grand Slam tournament appearance, a tough three-set loss to Elina Svitolina at the Western & Southern Open has taken the wind out of Naomi Osaka’s sails.
In the end, Svitolina was too strong for Osaka, both physically and mentally, winning 6-1, 6-4. Yet despite the loss, Osaka, who is ranked 53rd in the world, says she can be proud of her campaign.
“I think I was really capable,” she told reporters. “Maybe I was not strong enough in the third set. I still know that I played a really good match and I am not really disappointed about it. I got a lot of the positives, and I can still learn a lot from my experience.”
Osaka, who only turned 20 earlier this year, could be playing her last match on the hardcourts of the United States for a while as she prepares for Wimbledon. The deciding factor in her decision will be how she feels after an emotional 11-day trip to the U.S.
“For sure it will be difficult,” she said. “They’re going to be for sure quite strong feelings. You know, I’ve already been playing some matches and I know that I’m playing in front of lots of people and they’re going to be cheering for me so that’s going to be tough.”
“In the end, I think I still can sleep at night, and I’m just like very happy that I have a chance to play so many matches here. Hopefully I’ll have an amazing tournament and I hope I can still be here again next year.”
It was a hectic time for Osaka who began her U.S. tour trip with the title in Cincinnati before going on to loss in the final of the Harmony Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia. She then flew to Washington DC to participate in the AT&T Cup, which is held at Constellation Tennis Club, home of the Western & Southern Open.