Osaka plans indefinite break from tennis after shock US Open exit

The Japanese Naomi Osaka will compete in the third round against the Czech Marketa Vondrousova in her tennis match in the women’s singles in Tokyo 2020 in the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 27, 2021.

Tiziania Fabi | AFP | Getty Images

Naomi Osaka’s US Open defense ended in tears after a staggering loss to Leylah Fernandez before announcing an indefinite break from the sport.

The defending champion served for the match in the second set but surrendered, leaving the 18-year-old storming at the stunned Arthur Ashe Stadium for an impressive 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

It was a surprise end to her first Grand Slam back after she retired from the French Open and Wimbledon due to mental health issues.

The future of the 23-year-old in the game must now be in doubt after saying she won’t play “for a while”.

In her post-game press conference, she held back tears and said, “It’s very difficult to articulate. Basically, I feel like I’m at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.

“I think I’ll take a break from playing for a while.

“How should I say this? I feel to myself lately when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that that’s normal. I didn’t really mean to cry. “

When asked what caused the defeat, she added, “I don’t think it was her serve because I was able to come back pretty well against people who have served better. I don’t think that’s the cause because i was in this situation before.

“I think we are all dealing with some things, but I know that I am dealing with some things.”

It was Fernandez’s biggest win, the world’s number 73 career, and one that will usher in a fourth-round meeting with 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

The 18-year-old Canadian said during her on-site interview: “I probably wanted to stay on the pitch a little longer and offer everyone a show. One hour on the pitch was just not enough for me.” .

“Right from the start, just before the game, I knew that I could win.

“I didn’t focus on Naomi, I just focused on myself and what I had to do.”

Kerber continued her resurgent summer by defeating Sloane Stephens 5-7 6-2 6-3.

The German announced she had to sleep in Flushing Meadows on Wednesday night when Storm Ida caused her match to be canceled late.

She said, “I mean we got canceled very late. I thought we could go straight to the hotel. But it was impossible because of the storm and rain and stuff.

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“We stayed here until 3:30, 4 in the morning. I was trying to get some sleep because I had the game yesterday, as well as a few hours later. Yeah, that was my Wednesday night at the gym.”

Simona Halep fought to beat Elena Rybakina, but last year’s finalist Victoria Azarenka was beaten by Garbine Muguruza.

Halep’s season was marred by injuries and the Romanian is playing with heavy suspenders on her right thigh, but she saved four setpoints in a remarkable tie-break in the first set and finished strong with a 7-6 (13-11) 4 -6 6-3 win .

The ninth seeded Muguruza turned out to be too strong for Azarenka. The Spaniard prevailed 6: 4, 3: 6, 6: 2 to prepare another blockbuster fight against the French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova.

One day after cheering on husband Gael Monfils for a second-round win, fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina made it into the fourth round with a 6-4 6-2 win over Daria Kasatkina beating American Danielle Collins 6-3 6- 3rd