By Tucker Verdi
Naomi Osaka has a bright future ahead of her on the WTA Tour, but that future will have to wait another day as she fell to fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the second round of the 2018 Miami Open.
Osaka went on a hot streak and defeated World No. 1 Simona Halep and won her maiden WTA title at Indian Wells, and then bounced Serena Williams in the first round of this tournament on Wednesday.
The emotional run for Osaka ended when Svitolina defeated the Japanese-American by a score of 6-4, 6-2.
“Well, I mean, I tried the best I could,” Osaka said after the match. The 20-year-old went on to explain that she had been feeling “a little bit sick or something” that morning in warm-ups, with bouts of nausea.
No. 8 seed Venus Williams took to the court hoping to avoid an early exit like her sister, and it didn’t look great from the get-go as Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva pushed her on each point.
The former World No. 1 fought through an 18-minute game at 5-all in the first, sealing the break of Vikhlyantseva’s serve that allowed her to serve out the first set. Williams would go on to win the match by a final score of 7-5, 6-4.
Svitolina and Williams were lucky to avoid yet another day of upsets as seeded players fell all across the board.
No. 15 seed Kristina Mladenovic lost to Croatian Petra Martic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 while Maria Sakkari of Greece beat Annett Kontaveit – the No. 28 seed – 6-4, 6-1. Donna Vekic battled No. 24 Elena Vesnina for almost three hours before prevailing 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1.
Notably, two more qualifiers advanced to the third round with upsets of their own. Americans Sofia Kenin and Danielle Collins produced their own stunners to add to the three qualifiers who emerged from day one on Thursday.
Kenin took down the runner-up at Indian Wells less than a week ago, No. 19 seed Daria Kasatkina, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Collins played through an up-and-down match with compatriot Coco Vandeweghe to win 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki also suffered a stunning loss to Monica Puig after winning the first set 6-0. Read more about that here.
For full match results, visit miamiopen.com/2018-results.
About the Miami Open presented by Itaú
The 2018 Miami Open will be played March 19-April 1 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Miami Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men's and women's tennis players in the world. The tournament is widely regarded as the most glamorous on the ATP and WTA calendars because of its exotic Miami location, thriving nightlife, five-star hotels and restaurants, beautiful weather and beaches, and its celebrity appeal. For ticket information, call +1.305.442.3367 or visit www.miamiopen.com.
Itau is the largest Latin America privately owned bank, with approximately 94,000 employees and operations in 19 countries throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. Itaú’s relationship with sport goes back to the 1970s, when Itaú first sponsored the Itaú Tennis Cup in Brazil in 1970. Itaú has been a sponsor of the Miami Open for the last six years, and also sponsors the Rio Open, the only combined ATP/WTA event in South America. Itaú also supports the Brazilian Women’s Tennis Circuit, only female professional tournament in South America, certified by the Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), as well as the Tennis Institute Training Center, responsible for the development of young, new talent.
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions.