Naomi Osaka earned the biggest win of her career in the second round of the Hong Kong Tennis Open after she ousted the legendary Venus Williams, currently ranked fifth in the world, in straight sets with a 7-5, 6-2 scoreline. Osaka, who only managed to snap a five-match losing streak yesterday, now enters the quarterfinals to face sixth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in hopes for causing yet another huge upset.
Tight start to the match
With both players being big-servers, comfortable serves are ought to be a norm in this encounter. Williams had the first real opportunity to break in the third game when she jumped out to a 0-30 lead but failed to capitalize on her chances as Osaka narrowly prevailed to remain on serve. Some inconsistent serving then saw Williams concede a break point, but the American managed to save it with an incredible body serve.
Williams makes the first breakthrough
We did not actually have to wait long for the first breakthrough of the day, with the experienced Williams stepping up her gear to break serve in the fifth game after Osaka threw in an unfortunate double fault on break point. To make things worse for the youngster, Williams followed it up with a love service hold to consolidate the break.
Osaka produces incredible comeback
Williams looked to have the set under her control with her serve looking untouchable, and she was simply dominating play against her fellow hard-hitter. However, Osaka stepped up her level of play when it mattered the most as she came out of nowhere to break straight back while the American attempted to serve out the match, producing an incredibly powerful return winner on break point to level the scores. Surprisingly, Osaka managed to win 16 of the last 20 points in the set, rattling off four consecutive games to claim the first set 7-5.
Osaka steers to the win
Osaka’s run continued in the second set, and she seemed determined to get her first win over the legendary Williams when she let the crowd feel her presence with a confident love service hold in the opening game. Unable to find her first serves at all, the American found herself in some deep trouble after going down a break early in the second set, with the victory slowly becoming distant from her.
Williams only had a mere 29 percent of first serves sent in throughout the second set, and she certainly started to show some nerves when she lost a 40-0 lead in the fourth game to gift Osaka a double-break advantage. The Japanese faced some troubles while trying to consolidate the break with the American sending in some powerful returns but still fended off two break points to jump out to an incredible 5-0 lead, having won nine consecutive games.
Williams seemed to have started to embark on an incredible comeback after claiming two straight games and retrieving a break back, but vulnerable second serves were her downfall once more after she threw in two double faults at 2-5 down, eventually gifting Osaka the confidence-boosting victory in an hour and 25 minutes.