Coco Gauff makes her Naomi Osaka wish in Miami but it doesn't get fulfilled

Gauff and Osaka won't be meeting in the Miami round-of-16 after the Japanese lost to Caroline Garcia.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff makes her Naomi Osaka wish in Miami but it doesn't get fulfilled
© Getty Images Sport - Carmen Mandato

Coco Gauff admitted in her Miami Open press conference that she would like to face Naomi Osaka next but then the Japanese lost her third-round match and the American's hopes of meeting the four-time Grand Slam champion ended.

On Sunday, world No. 3 Gauff crushed qualifier Oceane Dodin 6-4 6-0 to reach the Miami round-of-16. After Gauff, the next on the court were Osaka and Caroline Garcia, with the winner getting a crack at the top-ranked American female tennis player in the round-of-16. 

After ousting Dodin, Gauff was asked about Osaka coming to watch one of her US Open matches last year - two months after giving birth, the 26-year-old Japanese visited the US Open as a guest. 

Answering the question, Gauff called Osaka "a champion" and highlighted she'd like to face her in Miami. Also, Gauff admitted that she was expecting to play Osaka in the Indian Wells round-of-16 two weeks ago but then the former world No. 1 lost to Elise Mertens. 

"I knew that she came to the match after the match. I actually didn't see her in the stands," Gauff said.

"Yeah, I think I expected to play her again when she came back on tour. Especially her not being seeded because her ranking dropped a little bit, you're going to get her eventually. I really thought I was going to play her in Indian Wells.

"I'm hoping to play her here. I think we have great matches against each other. She's definitely a champion of our sport. Regardless of her being gone, I still think she's one of the best hard court players. It will be a real test for me."

Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka
Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

But after Gauff made those statements, Osaka went on to lose to Garcia 6-7 (4) 5-7. Had Osaka defeated Garcia, she and Gauff would have met for the fifth time in their careers in Miami - the head-to-head between them stands at 2-2.

Gauff on facing Garcia 

A Gauff and Osaka match would have been extremely attractive on paper but the one between Gauff and Garcia also looks extremely exciting. When Gauff, 20, and 30-year-old Garcia meet in Miami, it will be the fifth time that they are facing each other.

After beating Garcia in their first meeting in 2021 Indian Wells, Gauff also defeated the Frenchwoman in Doha the following year. But Garcia responded in their last two matches, beating Gauff at the 2022 US Open and the 2022 WTA Finals. 

Ahead of her first meeting against 2022 WTA Finals champion Garcia in a year and a half, Gauff showed the ultimate respect for the Frenchwoman.

"Also with Caroline, she's always a tough player to play. I think the most recent time we played was US Open like two years ago. Probably even sooner. I can't remember the most recent time. I think I lost to her the most recent time," Gauff said of facing Garcia.

"She's tough. We all know how she plays. Takes the ball super early, plays very aggressive."

Coco Gauff and Caroline Garcia
Coco Gauff and Caroline Garcia© Getty Images Sport - Tom Pennington

Gauff on ousting Dodin, how she is feeling in Miami

Gauff actually didn't make a really good start as Dodin had a 4-2 lead and two break points for a 5-2 lead. But Gauff survived the tough seventh game and then didn't drop a single game in the remainder of the match. In the end, Gauff finished the match on a 10-game run.

"I think today was just being aggressive against her. She's a big hitter. She likes the game on her terms. I was trying my best to get deep in the court and just weather the storm," Gauff said.

So far, Gauff has had two straight-set wins in Miami as she also destroyed Nadia Podoroska 6-1 6-2 in her tournament opener. While Gauff is well-adjusted to the Florida conditions, she admits she has yet to fully adjust to the court.

"Yeah, I'm from here, so I'm very used to the heat. I do think, like, center court is slower than the practice courts, but quicker than it was at Indian Wells. It is still, like I feel like I'm adjusting to the court," Gauff said.

"Overall I feel good so for. I'm trying to improve with each match. Definitely playing a little bit better than I was last week in Indian Wells. Really happy with how I'm improving."

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Brennan Asplen

Going into today's match with Garcia, Gauff certainly enters as the favorite despite the Frenchwoman being a tough opponent. It remains to be seen if Gauff can end her two-match losing streak against Garcia and reach her first Miami quarterfinal.

Coco Gauff Naomi Osaka Caroline Garcia