The world no. 5 and the 2nd seed Naomi Osaka had a chance to open her season with the final in Brisbane but she suffered a tough 6-2, 6-4 loss to Lesia Tsurenko in just 65 minutes. The Japanese got broken three times and she was far from her best, unable to impose her shots and showing frustrations about the way he performed today, apologizing to the organizers and the fans that had to watch her on such a poor level.
Tsurenko was off to a flying start, losing just eight points on serve in the opener and breaking the US Open champion already in the opening game after a double fault from Naomi that set the tone for the rest of the match.
The Ukrainian secured another break in game seven after a backhand error from the Japanese who looked flat and without the answer how to improve her game. The second set started with another double fault from Osaka and Tsurenko held the lead until the end for a big win and the place in the final.
After the match, Osaka decided to withdraw from the super strong Sydney International where she should have been the third seed behind Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber, deciding to take a week off and reset her game before the start of the Australian Open where she is among the favorites for the title.
"If I'm being really frank, I just feel like I had the worst attitude today," Osaka said. "I feel like I didn't really know how to cope with not playing well. I was sulking a little bit, and like there are moments that I tried not to do that, but then the ball wouldn't go in, and then I would go back to being, like, childish and stuff.
I feel like last year I did a lot of that. I'm trying to change it more, and I think I have. I think today I learned.. what I can do to improve the situation."