Ruthless Osaka ends Gauff’s US Open run

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Naomi Osaka ends Coco Gauff's US Open run

Defending champion Naomi Osaka ended 15-year-old Coco Gauff’s dream US Open run, with a 6-3, 6-0 straight sets victory to reach the US Open last 16.

After capturing the imagination of the tennis world by progressing to the fourth round of Wimbledon as the All England Club’s youngest qualifier, Gauff captivated the home crowds at Flushing Meadows to reach the third round and set up a dream meeting with Osaka on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

However, defending champion and World No. 1 Osaka was always going to present a significantly greater challenge than Gauff’s previous opponents at Flushing Meadows.

While Gauff looked far from daunted by the occasion, she was unable to cut out the double faults and unforced errors that were a feature of her two engrossing victories. Osaka was much more ruthless in punishing the errors..

Osaka looked every inch a player ready to retain her crown, and needed only 65 minutes to set up a meeting with 13th seed Belinda Bencic in the round of 16 in New York.

Naomi Osaka returns a shot against Cori Gauff at US Open

The 21-year-old set out her stall right from the off, a fantastic forehand winner helping her bring up break point in the second game, on which Gauff double-faulted.

Falling 3-0 behind seemed to spark Gauff into life, though both players struggled for consistency as the set ended with four breaks in the final six games.

Osaka used deep drop shots to get Gauff in trouble in the opening game of the second, the Japanese spinning in delight after she produced outstanding reflexes at the net, to bring up break point.

Gauff promptly sent down another costly double fault and there was no way back for the American after Osaka held from 15-40 down, and then broke again for a 3-0 lead.

Coco Gauff (L) shakes hands with Naomi Osaka (R) during the third round of the US Open

The teenager was unable to get on the board in the second, with that fact doing a disservice to the part she played in an absorbing, albeit one-sided contest, that will surely be just the first of many more battles to come.

 

Chidi Nwoke.