Friday, 16 November, 2018

Kerber beats Osaka to keep WTA Finals hopes alive

Naomi Osaka WTA Finals: Sloane Stephens beats Naomi Osaka in Singapore
Eugene Bates | 26 October, 2018, 06:25

Bertens, who was a doubles finalist past year in Singapore, snapped a run of service breaks with a vital hold from 0-40 in the eighth game of the final set before a forehand victor earned the world No 9 a tour-leading 11th victory over a top 10 player this season.

"I had my chances in the second set but she played some unbelievable tennis to win that one, and it felt like there was only one or two points in the decider", Wimbledon champion Kerber said in a post-match interview.

Earlier, Kerber had a chance to serve it out against Osaka in the second set but triumphed the hard way in a pulsating 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory in two hours and 30 minutes.

The third set was a war of attrition with both players stretching every sinew to hold serve until Osaka cracked first in the seventh game, gifting Kerber the crucial break with a slew of poor shot selections from 40-15 ahead.

On Wednesday, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens overcame gallant Kiki Bertens in another marathon match, a result that breathes life into Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka's teetering Singapore campaign. She was rewarded with a break and closed out the first set, much to the racquet slinging frustration of Naomi Osaka.

A subdued Osaka could not unleash her powerful game and grew frustrated as Stephens drew first blood.

"I had a slow start but I'm really happy to have turned this match", she said after the match.

Osaka followed up her win at Flushing Meadows with a run to the Pan Pacific Open final in Tokyo and China Open semi-finals but the 21-year-old admitted that she had started to experience problems with her serve in Beijing. "I just made her play an extra ball".

"I feel like there is a rhythm that I need to get into that I haven't really been in touch with for the past few weeks", she said.

Bertens is the first woman from the Netherlands to break into the world's top 10, at number nine, since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy in 1996.

After comeback, Bertens in the second game of a tennis player in the final set in seven games in a row couldn't protect his serve. I just tried to think that you learn more when you lose, so what can I learn from this match and try to apply it to the next match?

"I want to give them (fans) a good match to watch".

Before Monday, Osaka had won 14 of her previous 16 matches to be the in-form player coming into the season-finale.

Bertens, who qualified for the season-ending tournament through Simona Halep's withdrawal, made 45 unforced errors but her greater aggression, which contributed to 33 winners, saw her shock the German top seed.

"Then I called him (Sluiter).in the first set".

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