Sun. May 24th, 2020

World Number One Osaka puts Madrid exit down to overthinking

Naomi OsakaNaomi Osaka says that her thoughts got in her way in Madrid as she crashed out in the last eight.

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WTA World Number One Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Madrid Open at the quarterfinal stage with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 loss to Belinda Bencic.

Osaka put the defeat down to having too much on her mind during the match against the 18th ranked Swiss.

The winner of the last two Grand Slams said that previous defeats to Bencic served to motivate her but ultimately threw her off her game.

“I was just thinking about too many things. I wanted to win this match so much because she’d beaten me before — I didn’t want to lose twice in a row,” said the 21-year-old.

“People have been telling me if I get to the semis here, I can stay number one.

“I wanted to do that but I was thinking about it while I was playing, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing.”

Osaka will lose her number one ranking to Simona Halep if the Romanian , who advanced to the semi-finals in Madrid with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, can win her next two matches in Spain.

Despite the exit Osaka is happy with the progress of her game on clay as she bids to make a splash at Roland Garros this season.

“I’m really happy as my serve was my biggest concern coming in,” she said after losing for the second time in two months to Switzerland’s Bencic who also triumphed in Indian Wells.

“I wanted to play this tournament and I’m going to play Rome, too.

“There’s a lot of happy things to take from this because I lost in the first round last year so anything is an improvement, honestly.”

Osaka will head to Rome next week for the final tune-up prior to the May 26 start of Roland Garros. Osaka went out of the tournament in the third round in Paris last year, which equalled her best previous effort at the only clay court Grand Slam.

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