World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has explained what makes Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka such a dangerous opponent. Barty, who made it all the way at Wimbledon, and Osaka are the top favorites to win it all at the US Open. Osaka, 23, has had plenty of success at Flushing Meadows so far in her career as she already has two US Open titles in her collection.
On the other side, Barty has never made it past the round-of-16 at the US Open. Barty and Osaka have clashed against each other four times and the head-to-head record between the two stands at 2-2. "Naomi is a pure ball-striker.
When she has time to set up particularly after her first serve, she's one of the best first-serve, first-strike players I've ever come up against," Barty said of Osaka, per Reem Abulleil.
Barty explains the secret behind her success
"Keeping it simple.
It's enjoying my tennis, going out there and playing with freedom. It's being really clear with tactically how I want to play. Then it just comes down to execution," Barty said, per Tennis Majors. Barty enters the US Open with a great confidence, having won the Cincinnati Masters last week.
En route to winning Cincinnati, Barty beat former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber. "You know, I think she has so much confidence right now. She plays so well, and she served good. I think this is also a big weapon from her," Kerber said, while explaining what makes Barty so dangerous.
"You know, she's just playing really like tricky, as well. "Keeping it simple. It's enjoying my tennis, going out there and playing with freedom. It's being really clear with tactically how I want to play.
Then it just comes down to execution," Barty said, per Tennis Majors. "She know where to put the ball and how to play in the moments where it's really important. "So I think the whole game of hers is really tough, and, you know, that's why she's there where she is."