China crisis for Japan Open organisers

Naomi Osaka of Japan  AFP PHOTO

Naomi Osaka of Japan

TOKYO: Local favorite Naomi Osaka was bundled out of the Japan Women’s Open by China’s Zhang Shuai on Thursday (Friday in Manila), piling more misery on beleaguered tournament organisers.

After losing the top two seeds earlier in the week, sixth seed Zhang overpowered 18-year-old Osaka 6-3, 6-2 to reach the Tokyo quarterfinals.

Zhang, a relative late bloomer who has enjoyed a breakthrough year at the age of 27, reaching the last eight of the season’s first grand slam in Melbourne, left Osaka chasing shadows as she smacked winners past the Japanese almost at will.

Osaka, born of a Japanese mother and Haitian father and who models her game on Serena Williams, felt she had lost the match before stepping on court and her frustration boiled over in the first set when she hurled her racquet to the floor in disgust.

“I probably out-thought myself,” she told reporters. “I was thinking too much when I really should have kept it much more simple.”

In other second-round mat­ches, third seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan crashed out, thrashed 6-2, 6-2 by Japan’s Kurumi Nara, but American seventh seed Christina McHale lived to fight another day by beating Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson 2-6, 6-2, 7-6.

Elsewhere, American Alison Riske crushed Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-3, 6-1, while Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic beat Magda Linette of Poland 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.



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