Naomi Osaka misplaced her cool, then she misplaced her U.S. Open title protection. And afterward, a clearly-shaken Osaka advised she will likely be taking one other break from the sport.
Teenager Leylah Fernandez pulled off arguably the most important stunner of the match, rattling Osaka and storming again for a 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 rally throughout which the champ slammed her racquet thrice and left the courtroom after the second-set tiebreak to attempt to compose herself.
It didn’t assist.
An emotional Osaka bought teary-eyed in her post-match press convention, admitting she’s “coping with some stuff.” She stated she possible will step away from the sport and couldn’t say precisely when she’d be again.
“Principally, I really feel like I’m type of at this level the place I’m making an attempt to determine what I need to do, and I truthfully don’t know after I’m going to play my subsequent tennis match,” stated Osaka, tearing up. “Yeah. I feel I’m going to take a break from enjoying for some time.”
This got here on the finish of an evening on which the 18-year-old Fernandez took the struggle to the 23-year-old Osaka. Fernandez snapped the champ’s 16-match profitable streak at majors, reached a Spherical of 16 for the primary time and notched her first win over a top-three foe.
“From the very starting, proper earlier than the match, I knew I used to be capable of win,” Fernandez stated in an on-court TV interview, including she was extra intent on her personal recreation than on Osaka’s meltdown. “Actually, I wasn’t specializing in Naomi. I used to be solely specializing in myself and what I wanted to do.”
The 73rd-ranked Canadian’s victory got here after both she —or the second — bought to the Japanese star, who slammed her racquet and threw it twice, all through the second-set tiebreak.
By the point Osaka took too lengthy between factors, whereas down 30-0 within the remaining recreation, the gang was cheering for the underdog and jeering the champ.
“Yeah, I’m actually sorry about that. I’m not likely certain why. … I used to be telling myself to be calm, however I really feel like perhaps there was a boiling level. Usually, I really feel like I like challenges,” Osaka stated. “However not too long ago, I really feel very anxious when issues don’t go my approach, and I really feel like you may really feel that. I’m not likely certain why it occurs the way in which it occurs now. However, yeah, it’s principally why. You can type of see that. I used to be type of like a little bit child.”
This was Osaka’s first main since pulling out of the French Open and sitting out Wimbledon, citing psychological well being points.
“I really feel like for me not too long ago, after I win, I don’t really feel glad. I really feel extra like a aid. After which after I lose, I really feel very unhappy. I don’t suppose that’s regular. I didn’t actually need to cry, however principally I really feel like…” Osaka stated earlier than welling up.
In distinction was Fernandez, shrieking with pleasure on the win.
With the primary set knotted at 5-all, Fernandez dropped her serve, and Osaka gained 10 consecutive factors. It was 5-all within the second set when Osaka broke and served for the sport. However Fernandez broke again.
That’s the place the wheels actually got here off for Osaka.
After Osaka went down 2-0 within the tiebreak, she slammed the racquet on the courtroom. With Fernandez serving, the teenager went forward 4-0 and Osaka threw her racquet down. And at 5-0, she threw it but once more, an offended spike on the baseline.
Osaka walked off the courtroom after dropping the tiebreaker, heading right into a small rest room simply off the courtroom with a towel draped over her head.
Fernandez, seizing the second and enjoying to the gang, opened the third set with a break and saved Osaka at bay. When she held to go up 5-3, Osaka needed to serve to remain within the match, and he or she held with an ace. However on match level, when Osaka sprayed her return huge, it was over.
Fernandez shrieked with pleasure and thrust her fists within the air. She bounded with pleasure — and cruised into the Spherical of 16.
What’s subsequent for Osaka is a thriller.