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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Victorious Naomi Osaka refuses to believe she is cool

World No 6, who reached Round 3 of China Open, is startled after being told she is considered 'Queen of Cool' by Australian tennis magazine

Naomi Osaka has been in the limelight since her US Open title victory against Serena Williams. Reuters
Naomi Osaka has been in the limelight since her US Open title victory against Serena Williams. Reuters

Naomi Osaka is the reigning US Open champion, the first Japanese to win a grand slam singles title and a fast-rising star of tennis - but do not call her cool.

Osaka bolstered her growing fame as she thrashed unseeded American Danielle Collins 6-1, 6-0 in 53 minutes to saunter into the third round of the China Open on Tuesday.

Told afterwards that she had been branded "Queen of Cool" by an Australian tennis magazine, the 20-year-old player looked startled.

"I don't like the word 'cool' because then I feel like when someone meets me, they'll be disappointed or something," Osaka said in Beijing.

"So they can use 'expressionless' or something," she added with a smile, playing with the impression formed by some observers.

"I think actually I'm very emotional."

Osaka, whose first grand slam title was overshadowed by Serena Williams's row with the chair umpire in their New York final, faces 10th seed Julia Goerges next at the China Open.

Osaka has booked her spot in the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore for the first time, underlining her potential.

But the world No 6 has appeared to struggle mentally with the fallout from the tempestuous final at the US Open, where Williams branded Carlos Ramos "a thief" and later accused him of sexism.

Osaka says her breakthrough victory last month was "bittersweet", but has refused to point the finger at the American great.

Osaka was not the only handsome winner on Tuesday on Beijing's outside hard courts.

China's on-form Wang Qiang continued her hot streak with a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing of Latvia's 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

WTA remembers the late Novotna

Ostapenko, the 12th seed, required treatment on her left wrist during the match and said afterwards that she had been playing at barely 50 per cent because of the injury.

Three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber is also into the third round, along with reigning champion Caroline Garcia of France.

Wimbledon champion Kerber came back from a break down twice in the first set to beat Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6, 6-1 in the second round.

"The conditions with the shadow on court were not so easy to play in the first set," the third-ranked Kerber said.

Garcia survived another tough match to book her place in the third round when she defeated Polona Hercog 7-6, 6-3.

Garcia was stretched to three sets in her first-round win over Yafan Wang.

She will next face new Wuhan Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, who saw off Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 6-4 on her third match point.

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

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Juan Martin del Potro, enjoying the best season of his injury-disrupted career, faces Russia's Karen Khachanov next. Getty Images
Juan Martin del Potro, enjoying the best season of his injury-disrupted career, faces Russia's Karen Khachanov next. Getty Images

In the men's draw, top seed Juan Martin del Potro called for on-court treatment but was mostly comfortable in beating Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5, 6-2 in his opener.

"It was a difficult start to the tournament for me," said the giant Argentine, the losing US Open finalist, adding that he twisted his knee in the second half of the match.

"It was nothing dangerous," he added.

"I served well, which is important for my whole game, but I didn't feel with that strength during the game."

Del Potro, enjoying the best season of his injury-disrupted career, faces Russia's Karen Khachanov next.

Also safely into round two is third seed Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated the American Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 6-3.