Indian Wells: Naomi Osaka fails to set up Coco Gauff metting after surprise loss

Osaka and Gauff were close to meeting in the Indian Wells round-of-16.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Indian Wells: Naomi Osaka fails to set up Coco Gauff metting after surprise loss
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka failed to set up an Indian Wells round-of-16 meeting against Coco Gauff after losing to Elise Mertens.

On Monday, No. 3 seed and home favorite Gauff ousted Lucia Bronzetti 6-2 7-6 (5) to progress into the Indian Wells round-of-16. After Gauff sealed a round-of-16 ticket, she was waiting on the winner of the match between Osaka and Mertens. 

At that moment, it seemed likely that an Osaka and Gauff match would highlight round-of-16 action in Indian Wells. But then, Osaka suffered a loss as Mertens claimed a 7-5 6-4 win over the former world No. 1.

Down by a double break early in the first set, Osaka managed to recover and tie the first set to five games apiece. Just when it seemed that Osaka could make a big comeback in the first set, she lost her serve again in the 11th game as Mertens took a 6-5 lead before serving out for the opener in the following game.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman
 

After losing the first set, Osaka also dropped her serve in the first game of the second set but managed to get the break back in the sixth game. But just after getting the break back, Osaka lost her serve again in the seventh game of the second set. Up by a set and a break, Mertens held on to her serve for the remainder of the match to complete a two-set win.

How Gauff beat Bronzetti?

Early in the match, Gauff experienced some difficulties on her serve but managed to save a break point in the first game - three break points in the third game - and five break points in the fifth game. After blowing eight early break points, Bronzetti paid the price as Gauff claimed back-to-back breaks in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set.

In the second set, Gauff blew a break she earned in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead but still managed to get the job done after winning the second-set tie-break - where she was 4-5 down before winning three points in a row to complete a two-set win. 

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Aryna Sabalenka sees off Emma Raducanu

On Monday, No. 2 seed Sabalenka was also in action, beating 2021 US Open champion Raducanu 6-3 7-5.

After claiming the first break of the match in the sixth game, Sabalenka missed out on two set points in the eighth game but converted her third set point when serving for the first set in the ninth game.

Up by a set, Sabalenka also broke Raducanu in the fifth game of the second set but the Briton managed to get the break back instantly in the following game. However, blowing an early second-set break didn't impact Sabalenka, who broke Raducanu again in the 11th game before serving out for the match in the next game. 

Also, it should be noted that Raducanu definitely had her chances in key moments of the match but she missed on four break points in the ninth game of the first set and also didn't convert any of her three break points in the 12th game of the second set - the games in which Sabalenka was serving for the first and second sets.

Aryna Sabalenka and Emma Raducanu
Aryna Sabalenka and Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

In her next match, Sabalenka plays against either Elina Svitolina or Emma Navarro.

Indian Wells Naomi Osaka Coco Gauff
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