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Osuigwe suffers heartbreak in Miami

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By Editorial Team

Whitney Osuigwe is in the group of teenage rising stars on the WTA Tour with title wins last season and her second major grand slam main draw appearance at the Australian Open this year.

A close encounter with Danielle Collins at the 2019 Miami Open proves that Whitney can hit with any of the top pros on tour, but it also highlighted the fact that she is only 16 years old playing on center court expected to navigate her way out of an intense first set tie break.

The first set could have gone either way as both players played extremely well. Danielle showed signs of uneasiness as she made several unforced errors on her forehand side down the stretch. However, she was able to settle herself and keep just one more ball in play than Whitney when it counted.

Whitney had three set points in the match, but could not pull it out as planned. The most crushing set point loss was when she missed a high backhand volley in the net. Her size could have been a factor also as Danielle was continually dropping her and then lobbing over the backhand side of Whitney.

This sure added insult to injury, but Whitney was able to soldier on and finish the set under composer, but the second set was a foregone conclusion as she was not up for battling a feisty Collins for every point.

Fans can expect more from Whitney as she matures into the player everyone projects. She has little or no weaknesses other than her ability to close out matches and maintain leads. This was evident as she was up a break in each set against Bianca Andreescu at the Australian Open this year.

Bianca is noted for her mental toughness and ability to fight back. If this is any guide to Whitney’s progression, fans can expect a quick rebound as she continues to rack up major tournament title wins on the WTA Tour as her former junior-mate, Bianca.

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Pro Tour

Osaka and Keys in QF at Japan Women’s Open

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Naomi Osaka is on pace for a much needed title after an early R16 loss in the US Open. Her quest for the first title of the year began with a win over Viktoriya Tomova 7-5, 6-3 today. With a inconsistent ground game, Naomi is looking to iron out weaknesses with new coach Wim Fissette who is a proven WTA professional with Azarenka, Kerber and Clijsters as former students of his. Recent news broke five days ago on Twitter announcing the split with Jermaine Jenkins after a slew of poor results in major grand slam events this season.

Sloane Stephens is also riding the coaching change wave after accepting Kamau Murray back into her team. The two have earned multiple titles in 2017/2018 so it can only be upside from here as she now faces Camila Giorgi in the R16 of the Japan Women’s Open. This will be a tough test for Sloane as the aggressive Italian has been on a roll with her most recent final run (losing to Magda Linette in 3 sets) at the New York Open that lead into the US Open late last month.

Update: Sloane fell 6-0, 6-3 to Camila in the R16 match which did not live up to the hype. Sloane will look to recover quickly as she prepares for the WTA Finals later this year.

Madison Keys is a favorite to win here in Osaka Japan, but she has to get past the high ranking vet, Angelique Kerber. Madison has a 8:2 win/loss record against Kerber and is healthy enough to get her third win against such a quality opponent. Madison most recently defeated Kerber in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last month 6-4 in the third set.

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Pro Tour

Gauff becomes fan favorite

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Cori “CoCo” Gauff played some inspired tennis today in her US Open main draw debut as she was able to hold off the young Russian star Anastasia Potapova 6-4 in the final 3rd set.

In somewhat of a roller coaster match, CoCo regained her composure and played great tennis down the stretch when it counted. Going back to the basics she would eventually dominate points which proves that she is capable to making adjustments during big matches.

Her next round match is against Timea Babos – a tour veteran – who is sure to give her a tough match. However, Coco should be able to use her momentum and confidence to carry her into the next round. Timea has a few matches under her belt as a qualifier, but the more steady play and mix of power should allow CoCo to come through victoriously.

Coco’s side of the draw also includes Naomi Osaka who was able to narrowly escape her first round match today. These two would face each other in the 3rd round if both are successful on Thursday. As former practice partners, Naomi sees the future of women’s tennis in Coco as she recently stated,

“I have actually been trying to talk to her recently, because I feel she’s a little bit like me,” said the 21-year-old Osaka, who last year became the youngest U.S. Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2006. “This is such a good experience for her. She obviously deserves to play here.”

With a growing fan base, Coco should be able to stand a chance against the current world number one.

In regards to the fans Coco mentioned after the match, “At Wimbledon, my first match, I mean, people were still rooting for me, but obviously there was, like, a lot of people rooting for Venus, where this match it was entirely for me,” said Gauff, the youngest singles player to win a U.S. Open match since countrywoman CiCi Bellis in 2014. “This is my first match where people actually had a chant for me.”

“It’s mostly upside,” Gauff said of the fame. “The amount of people and kids especially that come up to me saying I inspire them is honestly, I guess, better than any match I could win, just to know that I inspire another kid maybe to pick up a racket or go through something they’re facing at school.”

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Pro Tour

Serena in question heading into US Open

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By Editorial Team

Serena Williams has made a good case for herself as eventual grand slam title holder this year with only one remaining hurdle.

In the past is was almost automatic to assume Serena would win every final match she appeared in. Tomorrow will definitely not be a routine win for her as she now must face the red-hot Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

Bianca was able to win straight sets for the first time in the Rogers Cup this week as she dismantled Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6 in a tight competitive match that could have gone either way. Serena was able to overcome a first set glitch to later win the final two sets 6-3, 6-3.

This is the first time these two have gone up against each other, but it would appear that Serena has the upper hand given her experience and title record.

However, she can not take her opponent lightly in the first set as she has a 25-1 record of winning matches after taking the first set. Serena must get off to a good start and play her attacking style of play. Big serves and cross court forehands must be the theme of the day.

After defeating an embattled Osaka straight sets, Serena should have the confidence to finish the job tomorrow and head into the US Open with much needed momentum.

Update: Serena falls 1-3 to Andreescu due to back spasms and can not finish the final. Serena will most likely rest up and hope can fully recover for the US Open which begins in 2 weeks.

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