Naomi Osaka of Japan advanced to the second round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Wednesday but was knocked out of the tournament just before 4 p.m. when she was beaten by Julia Goerges 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
The talented 19-year-old, who is ranked 69th in the world, said before the match that her opponent and fellow German, Julia Goerges, wasn’t intimidated by her:
“Goerges is the kind of person who, no matter what situation, like nobody is going to beat her on the court. If somebody is going to beat her, it will be somebody that I don’t expect.”
Osaka is the sister of Japanese billionaire, Masa Osaka, who divorced in March, according to the Financial Times. Her story is particularly noteworthy given that she became the first Asian tennis player to have won a WTA Tour title when she beat Serena Williams in the final of the Indian Wells tournament last year.
It remains to be seen what will happen to her ranking, though in May, WTA tournament director Steve Simon told The New York Times that she had already won over key tennis insiders like Steffi Graf and Margaret Court.
“I was really pleased with what I saw on the court, how she played, how she embraced who she is and how she accepted that she’s more of a project for young women to watch, rather than just a young woman to watch,” he said.
Later that month, Simon said that Osaka was expecting to be the top-ranked women’s player in Japan once she reaches the age of 22.
Many were optimistic about her chances at the Western & Southern Open, one of the four hard-court events, where players are tired but also more generous on serving than the clay-court events, which some believe make players less competitive.
Goerges won the tournament in 2016 and this is her second career WTA title. Osaka would have been the tournament’s top seed if she hadn’t withdrawn earlier in the tournament with an ankle injury.