Tennis: Osaka falls to 0-2 in WTA Tour Finals group play

Naomi Osaka was unable to turn aggressive play into her first win at the WTA Tour Finals on Wednesday, as she fell to 0-2 in group play with a loss to Germany’s Angelique Kerber.

The 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win was the first her for Kerber after the world No. 2 blew a one-set lead on Monday in losing to ninth-ranked Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. Bertens played Sloane Stephens in the day’s final red group match at Singapore Indoor stadium.

Although Osaka fired six aces and fired 42 winners to Kerber’s 24, she also made 50 unforced errors to Kerber’s 30 and failed to convert 13 of her 18 break points.

On the verge of being taken out in two sets, Osaka upped her game to overcome a 5-3, second set deficit, but was broken first in the final set and never recovered.

«Naomi is such a great opponent. We both played on a really high level tonight,» said Kerber, who improved to 4-1 in her career against the 21-year-old U.S. Open champ.

«I think that I served really well, and I had my chances in the second set, but she played unbelievably well at the important moments. Also in the third set, it was just one point that decided the match.»

In the third set, both players fell behind in their first three service games only to hold until Osaka’s first serve deserted her in the seventh game. A double fault brought up deuce. After Kerber won a good rally on Osaka’s second serve, Osaka netted a drop shot to hand her opponent the break.

Osaka two chances to break back, but one long return and two into the net allowed Kerber to hold serve and take a 5-3 lead. Osaka held serve to force another service game from her opponent, but on Kerber’s second match point, another netted return from Osaka ended the match.

The top two players from each group advance to the semifinals.

All — Kyodo News+

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