Naomi Osaka displays on being in highlight after win over Coco Gauff at Western & Southern Open

MASON, Ohio — Down a set and a break to 17-year-old Coco Gauff, second-ranked Naomi Osaka fought again to tug out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win on the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday, her first WTA Tour occasion because the French Open in late Could.

Osaka appreciated being examined so shortly.

“It is undoubtedly been some time since I performed a troublesome opponent in a three-set match,” she mentioned. “It was undoubtedly actually powerful, however I really feel actually good proper now. I am tremendous excited to play one other match.”

Osaka additionally mentioned on Wednesday that she was reflecting since briefly leaving after which returning to Monday’s information convention earlier than the event.

Throughout that information convention, Osaka put her head down and was combating again tears after a reporter requested how her coaching for the upcoming hard-court season was progressing and for her ideas on the occasions in Haiti, the place a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck final week. Osaka then stepped away for 4 minutes earlier than returning.

Simply previous to that query, she was requested by a reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer about how she balances “not being loopy about coping with us” with needing a media platform for her “exterior pursuits.” Osaka took a couple of lengthy pauses at that line of questioning, and the information convention moderator tried to maneuver on to the following query. However Osaka insisted on attempting to higher perceive the query and he or she answered it.

“Actually, I used to be occupied with this because the final time I sat right here,” Osaka mentioned on Wednesday. “I used to be questioning why I used to be so affected, I suppose. Like what made me not need to do media within the first place. After which I used to be pondering, I used to be questioning if I used to be scared as a result of typically I might see headlines of gamers shedding after which the headline the following day can be like ‘a collapse’ or ‘they don’t seem to be that nice anymore.’

“So then I used to be pondering, me waking up on daily basis, for me, I ought to really feel like I am profitable, you understand? Like, the selection to go on the market and play, to go see followers, that individuals come out and watch me play, that itself is an accomplishment. I am unsure when alongside the way in which I began desensitizing that. It began not being an accomplishment for me. So I felt like I used to be very ungrateful on that reality.”

Osaka, who gained the Australian Open in February, withdrew from the French Open earlier than her second-round match and skipped Wimbledon completely as she cited a necessity for a psychological well being break. She was eradicated within the spherical of 16 on the Tokyo Olympics after lighting the Olympic cauldron in her native Japan.

“I do not know. I feel undoubtedly this entire COVID factor was actually hectic with the bubbles and never seeing folks and never having the interactions,” Osaka mentioned on Wednesday. “However I feel, like, I suppose seeing the state of the world, how every thing is in Haiti, how every thing is in Afghanistan proper now, is unquestionably actually loopy.

“And for me to simply be hitting a tennis ball in the US proper now, and have folks come and watch me play, is, I do not know. I might need to be myself on this state of affairs moderately than anybody else on this planet.”

In different matches, top-ranked Ash Barty wanted a second-set tiebreaker to beat Heather Watson, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in a match postponed from Tuesday due to rain. Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina.

Simona Halep, the twelfth seed, withdrew with a proper thigh damage.

Males’s high seed Daniil Medvedev cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win in 59 minutes over wild card Mackenzie McDonald, and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was eradicated by ninth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz.

Each Olympic singles gold medalists, Alexander Zverev and Belinda Bencic, and males’s No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas all superior in straight units. Two-time Slam champion Garbine Muguruza and fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova additionally gained in straight units.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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