"For me that was my goal after I lost in the U.S. Open. I pretty much meditated on it...It just feels I accomplished what I set out to do," Naomi Osaka said strongly during a press conference after winning the China Open.
She might have wanted to win the title badly but her playing performances were totally 'off the hook' during that tournament and even her previous tournament - the Japan Women's Open. Osaka had strung along ten match wins in a row and decided during the Asian Swing she'd make good of her dreams and aspirations.
The U.S. Open was sentimental for the young Japanese because she'd won it from her idol, Serena Williams among the challenges and mayhem the New York event provided in 2108. As Osaka entered this year's Flushing Meadow event she tried to defend her title but a Swiss by the name of Belinda Bencic stepped in the way.
It was the round of 16, Naomi was hurt and a bit down for being bounced out by the slick Swiss lady's crisp down-the-lines and snappy midcourt winners. She did what many players sometimes do after an early loss and when things are not going well anyway and that is to dismiss their coach.
Jermaine Jenkins, an ex-hitting partner of Venus Williams, was let go as Osaka let bygones be and tried to regroup. It was her dad Leonard Francois that became more of an integral part of Osaka's team after that as she tore through the Asian tournaments.
The Japan Women's Open was significant for her as it was her hometown people who highly respected the young player. Osaka's level of play was ramped up and she got through to the final outplaying Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to win her third career title in Japan without dropping a set the entire tournament.
It was her impeccable play that continued into the China Open in Beijing gifting her another title. The tournament was filled with deja vu situations as she accomplished those 10 match wins and was really 10 days short of having her 22nd birthday.
She had tried to win the Beijing event twice before and this last time came up the winner. Osaka also met her opponent Ashleigh Barty at the 2108 Nottingham tournament and fell to her in two straight sets. But Beijing was a bit of the grudge match and Osaka won over her in three sets for the title.
The young Japanese had a relaxing flare about her at the China Open press conference admitting how her season had turned out since winning the Australian Open in January. "I was too stats oriented after the Australian Open.
There was this big thing about 'you're number one now. Then I felt like I shouldn't lose a match...this dip really humbled me and it made me very motivated to like be here right now." She had many up and down matches since then but though these back to back titles were the sweetest thing attached unto her resume as titles won.
Naomi Osaka had flipped the script with a few opponents and felt great and accomplished. She had defeated Canada's favorite Bianca Andreescu in a slugfest of tension and excitement. It's a wonder that it all went down since Osaka confesses that before the match her duel with Caroline Wozniacki was also a battle.
Afterward, she'd had only 2 hours of sleep to face the Canadian teen. "..I can't really sleep after my matches. I just feel like my adrenaline is up more during the tougher matches so it makes it harder to sleep."
Ashleigh Barty was the next and last dynamic opponent Osaka had to face and she handled it perfectly. What's next for the defiant Naomi Osaka? The Shiseido WTA Finals in Shenzhen has been slated as the fifth qualifier and it will be just as exciting as she'll face the same tough and feisty opponents, proving that her game and tennis are never-ending.