x

Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Naomi Osaka says her US Open win 'not the happiest memory'

Speaking in Beijing, where Osaka powered into Round 2 of China Open, Japanese compared grand slam success to green-tea ice cream

Naomi Osaka felt 'bittersweet' about her US Open title win against Serena Williams in New York. Getty Images
Naomi Osaka felt 'bittersweet' about her US Open title win against Serena Williams in New York. Getty Images

Naomi Osaka said on Monday winning the US Open was "bittersweet" and "not the happiest memory", and revealed she has been trying to forget about the career-defining victory.

The 20-year-old rising star from Japan stunned Serena Williams last month in a tempestuous final in which the American called chair umpire Carlos Ramos "a thief" and later accused him of sexism.

"There's a lot of stuff I want to say about how I felt and whatever," the world No 6 said.

Williams's high-profile meltdown made headlines over Osaka's feat in becoming the first Japanese to win a grand slam title, although Osaka has declined to point the finger at the American great.

"For me, I don't know, I don't know, the memory of the US Open is a little bit bittersweet," Osaka said.

"Right after, the day after, I really didn't want to think about it because it wasn't necessarily the happiest memory for me.

"I just sort of wanted to move on at that point."

Speaking in Beijing, where Osaka powered into Round 2 of the China Open with a dominant performance over Kazakh qualifier Zarina Diyas, the young Japanese light-heartedly compared her grand slam success to green-tea ice cream.

"When you bite into it, it's sweet, but also very strong - that's how that memory feels to me.

"Of course I'm happy that I won a grand slam, I don't think there's anything that can take away from that. But I feel like it was so strange, I didn't just want to think about it.

"I wanted to just push it to the side."

Osaka, who defeated Diyas 6-4, 6-3 despite not playing her best, faces unseeded American Danielle Collins next.

Wozniacki emphatic

Also safely through on Beijing's outdoor hard courts is another reigning grand slam champion, Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki.

With world No 1 Simona Halep retiring from the tournament with a back injury and Serena Williams absent, Osaka and Wozniacki are among the favourites.

Former world No 1 Wozniacki was emphatic with a 6-2, 6-3 demolition of Switzerland's Belinda Bencic.

The Danish world No 2 was never in serious trouble against 41st-ranked Bencic, although it has not always been like that down the years, Bencic winning four of their past six meetings.

Wozniacki will play Croatia's unseeded Petra Martic in Round 2.

Danish world No 2 Caroline Wozniacki is showing signs of form at the China Open. AFP
Danish world No 2 Caroline Wozniacki is showing signs of form at the China Open. AFP

______________

Read more:

Serena Williams insists women in tennis are treated differently to the men

Letters to the Editor: It’s time to put the scourge of racism well behind us

Serena Williams fined $17,000 for US Open final 'umpire thief' meltdown

Explainer: What caused Serena Williams' meltdown in the US Open final?

Naomi Osaka shows killer instinct, soft heart in grand slam breakthrough

______________

It was a case of seventh time lucky for another former No 1, Garbine Muguruza, as the Spaniard set up a meeting with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Muguruza, who is down to 15th in the world, made a fast start as she hammered Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 6-4, making the seventh match point count against the Russian.

Elise Mertens, the 15th seed from Belgium, suffered a surprise defeat to home player Zhang Shuai, the Chinese winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Also out is the 17th seed Madison Keys after the American, the 2017 US Open finalist, withdrew with a knee injury.

The top men's seeds make their entrance on Tuesday, with Juan Martin del Potro, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov all in action.