Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka has suffered back-to-back losses at WTA 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati ahead of the US Open but that may not neccessarily be a bad thing for the Japanese. In 2018, Osaka picked up back-to-back first round losses in Canada and Cincinnati.
Then, Osaka put up a stunning run at the US Open to win her first Grand Slam title.
Last week in Toronto, Osaka was forced to retire her first round match to Kaia Kanepi while down by a set and a break. This Tuesday, Osaka suffered a 6-4 7-5 loss to Zhang Shuai.
This is Naomi Osaka’s first time losing her opening match at back-to-back tournaments since Canada and #CincyTennis in 2018.
She then won her next event, the US Open.
🤷 — Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 16, 2022
For the first time since 2018, Osaka enters the US Open with first round exits in Canada and Cincinnati.
Osaka ousted by Zhang in straight sets
Osaka got off to a slow start to the match as Zhang earned the first break in the very first game of the match.
In the sixth game, Osaka had her first break point of the match but Zhang saved it to open a 4-2 lead. Zhang then routinely served out her next two service games to claim the first set. After winning the first set, Zhang collected the first break of the second set in the third game to open a 2-1 lead.
In the 10th game of the second set - when Zhang was serving for the match - Osaka clinched her first break to tie the set to five games apiece. Just when it seemed Osaka might create a big comeback, she lost her serve in the 11th game as Zhang took a 6-5 lead and got another chance to serve out for the match.
In the 12th game, Zhang served out to love and completed a two-set victory. Despite back-to-back exits in Toronto and Cincinnati, Osaka is not winless this summer. Three weeks ago in San Jose, Osaka defeated Qinwen Zheng in the first round before losing to Cori Gauff in the last-16. Osaka is a two-time US Open champion and it remains to be seen how she does at the US Open.