Naomi Osaka survives scare against No 28 seed Hsieh Su-wei by producing stunning comeback to book her place in fourth round of Australian Open
- Naomi Osaka was made to produce a fine comeback to beat Hsieh Su-wei
- US Open champion lost the first set after No 28 seed won four games in a row
- Osaka couldn’t find her rhythm and Hsieh sensed her opportunity and pounced
- But Osaka fought back well from a break down to clinch the second set
- She then found her stride and made light work of the third set to ensure victory
Naomi Osaka smashed her racket into the court after losing the first set. She tumbled to the court when she tripped in the second.
The U.S. Open champion recovered both times and avoided slipping out of the Australian Open on Saturday with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over Hsieh Su-wei.
The fourth-seeded Osaka got a warning from the umpire after she spiked her racket in frustrating after Hsieh took the first set with three breaks of service.
Naomi Osaka was made to come back from a set and a break down to beat Hsieh Su-wei
Osaka throws her racquet to the ground after losing the first set on Saturday
Hsieh was clinical in the first set and even broke Osaka early in the second set of the match
The 33-year-old Hsieh, who plays with a double-handed grip on both sides and uses a mixture of spin and slice and drop shots to unsettle her rivals, has taken some top 10 players out of majors before. She reached the fourth round last year here, after beating Garbine Muguruzu, and at Wimbledon, where she beat top-ranked Simona Halep.
The 21-year-old Osaka was getting flustered, unable to dictate rallies and seemingly unable to find a way to deal with Hsieh’s unusual style.
She found a way back, though, from 4-2 down in the second set when Hsieh was one point away from a 5-2 lead.
Osaka got an important break, rallying from 0-40 to win five straight points and converting it with a deep, powerful backhand that Hsieh barely retrieved but can’t keep in play.
Hsieh had a breakpoint chance in the next game but couldn’t convert, with Osaka saving it with another backhand winner that reinforced the change in momentum.
Osaka just couldn’t get up to speed and before she knew it the Taiwanese had seized control
Hsieh was impressive in the early exchanges but let her firm grip on the match slide
The No 4 seed then began to find her stride and broke back before clinching the second set
Apart from the tumble, when she rolled her right ankle early in the game as she served for the second set – she held up her thumb to let everyone know she was OK – Osaka was in control until the end.
‘Anything that I can do to stay here a bit longer, I tried to do,’ said Osaka, who’d never been past the fourth round of a major before last year’s US Open, where she beat Serena Williams in the final.
Asked how she managed to get herself back into the contest against Hsieh, Osaka smiled and said it was simple.
‘I have fun every time I play,’ she said, even if sometimes it doesn’t seem apparent. She quickly reminded the crowd: ‘You guys didn’t see me slam my racket, that’s not something that I did!’
The Japanese player continued her momentum into the third set and held on for the win