Will Sascha Bajin be the key to open Naomi Osaka's game in 2018?



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Will Sascha Bajin be the key to open Naomi Osaka's game in 2018?

" ... I'm optimistic but I would love some consistency for once. I just want to work I love this job ... " Sascha Bajin, hitting partner and assistant to many players had said on social media after he was released from his duties with no.

3 ranked Caroline Wozniacki months ago. Bajin wasn't able to find another long-term position since Serena Williams, who he'd seen through ten major titles. Lately, it's becoming a merry-go-round of players he's been assigned to and then having their relationship dissolved.

He will start the new season in 2018 with another player, the aspiring, very promising Japanese Naomi Osaka. Osaka has had a few flickers of great victories this year. One was in the opening round of the 2017 US Open where she defeated Germany's Angelique Kerber ranked no.

6, in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. It was a shocker to both: First to Kerber who was defeated in the first round and Osaka for being the winner over one of the top ten in the world. "I was relieved, especially since I was nervous on the last point", the 20-year-old had said joyously.

She head entered tournaments but bowed to Caroline Wozniacki at the Aegon International at Eastbourne int he second round and then playing Venus Williams at the third round at Wimbledon, again losing in straight sets. But the victory she had with Kerber at the US Open, Naomi Osaka carried that confidence with her a few months later when again she played Venus Williams at the Hong Kong Open and defeated her in the second round.

Osaka wanted these wins to be more consistent and was determined to have a change of team when the new 2018 season rolled around. The Japanese and her team got together with Bajin to see what would happen in this new season to come.

Sascha Bajin was used to long-standing gigs as a hitting partner when he was working for a tennis organization in Germany back in 2013. Serena Williams' hitting partner back then, Jovan Savic called Bajin asking him to train with Serena because he wasn't able to.

The Williams/Bajin relationship lasted eight years and then Bajin got injured forcing Williams to make the decision on ending their collaboration. Victoria Azarenka and her coach Sam Sumyk had decided to split so it was at the right time that Sascha Bajin cam in and began with Azarenka and her new coach Wims Fissette.

"It's not easy to find a good hitting partner, and I think Sascha is maybe the best hitting partner on tour ..." Fissette had said of Bajin's popularity on the circuit. But their union was short-lived because in 2015 Azarenka had a foot injury and missed close to 5 months on the court.

It was with Bajin and Fissette that she had title wins and only the third player to do the Indan Wells-Miami Open in the same year of 2016. But she started being plagued with injuries first a back ailment causing her to withdraw for the Madrid Open's third round.

Then it was a knee injury that made her retire in the first round against Karin Knapp at the French Open and she had to withdraw from Wimbledon as a result of the same injury. By July, Azarenka would have to discontinue her union with Bajin as she announced her pregnancy on social media.

Sascha Bajin known for his expertise was out of a job again until Caroline Wozniacki decided to hire him in February of this year as her hitting partner only on a temporary position until the Charleston event in April.

Wozniacki said "We are trying it out a little bit until Charleston and then from there we both want to see how it's going and how we feel. I'm enjoying having him on my team and we had a good start so far. Let's hope that it continues".

Even though Wozniacki is coached by her father she says that Bajin's role with her team is more than a hitting partner. She said that "He comes with inputs and practices. He's definitely a hitter plus. Assistant coach, I guess".

In October Wozniacki won the WTA Finals title and after that, she discontinued her union with Bajin saying that " ... I know he wants to be a coach at some point, and that's not what I need on my team right now ..." He had said of the split that "It was an unforgettable year".

Now it's Naomi Osaka who is up for the partnership with Bajin who has a great strong resume of leading Serena Williams to ten titles, Azarenka to a few and Wozniacki to the WTA Finals in Singapore. Osaka's coach is the veteran Australian David Taylor who's coached the two top Aussies Alicia Molik and Sam Stosur.

Taylor was also an Australian Fed Cup captain and believes that "the sky's the limit" with Osaka. She has faith in him and mentions that Taylor " ... talks to me a lot about positivity because I tend to be really negative on myself ...

he's helped me with my serve and my forehand and a lot of other stuff..." So with the combination of Taylor and Bajin, Osaka is very hopeful that she'll be able to energize her game to win a maiden title at least under Bajin's union in this 2018 season to come.