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Naomi Osaka beats Coco Gauff in Western & Southern Open

Naomi Osaka of Japan makes a hit to Cori Gauff of the United States during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

Naomi Coco4
Naomi Osaka of Japan makes a hit to Cori Gauff of the United States during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center Wednesday, August 18, 2021. Naomi Coco4

Second-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan recorded 11 aces to post a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Coco Gauff in a second-round match at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.

Osaka won 83.7 percent of her first-serve points while prevailing in one hour, 53 minutes at the Cincinnati-area event.

Osaka is looking to have a strong showing this week as she tunes up for the upcoming U.S. Open. She hasn’t played much tennis in recent months and cited mental health reasons for pulling out of the French Open and skipping Wimbledon.

“I’ve had a really weird year,” Osaka said after beating Gauff. “I think some of you know what happened to me this year. I changed my mindset a lot. Even if I lost I would have felt that I’m a winner. There’s so much stuff going on in the world. … Just waking up in the morning is a win.”

The 17-year-old Gauff registered eight aces but committed nine double faults. Osaka had three double faults.

Osaka will next face Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann, who was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Bernarda Pera.

Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia also moved on as she posted a 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Heather Watson of Great Britain.

Barty and Watson recorded nine aces apiece but Barty overcame seven double faults. Watson committed just one.

Barty will next face 14th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Azarenka was a 6-2, 7-5 winner over Alison Riske.

In other matches, fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and seventh-seeded Bianca Andreescu were eliminated in the second round.

Germany’s Angelique Kerber saved 12 of 18 break points while registering a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Svitolina.

Kerber next faces Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, who advanced when 13th-seeded Jennifer Brady retired due to a knee injury. Brady won the opening set 7-6 (2) and Ostapenko held a 5-4 lead in the second.

Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic had an easy time in ousting Andreescu 6-4, 6-2 in 86 minutes. Muchova won 78.4 percent of her first-serve points compared to Andreescu’s 47.1 percent.

Muchova will next face 10th-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who beat the United States’ Shelby Rogers 7-6 (1), 6-1.

No. 11 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic delivered 10 aces while beating Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 6-4 in 81 minutes.

Kvitova next faces Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who upset sixth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-3, 6-3.

Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan knocked off 15th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 6-2. Rybakina will meet Spain’s Paula Badosa, who edged No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic eliminated Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-2.

Eighth-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain defeated France’s Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-3, and ninth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic downed Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska 6-1, 7-6 (5).

The United States’ Jessica Pegula got a walkover win when 12th-seeded Simona Halep of Romania withdrew due to an adductor injury.

–Field Level Media