Naomi Osaka’s Chances at the US Open

AP/Patrick Semansky, file

Naomi Osaka’s Chances at the US Open

Having just crashed out in the third round of the Tokyo Olympics, Naomi Osaka will be looking to defend her US Open title. It’s been quite a spring and summer for Osaka, beginning with her withdrawal from the French Open and Wimbledon. She hasn’t played that much tennis since taking a break due to her mental health. She looked rusty in Tokyo, however that could also have been some of the pressure she was under.

Naomi’s only tune-up before the US Open seems to be Cincinnati, where she’ll be contesting the title against the very best in the world. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be as many withdrawals as in the Canadian Open. This should be good news for Osaka’s preparation. She’ll want to get some good match play before the US Open.

So, once at the US Open, what are Naomi’s chances? The good news for Osaka is that the tennis world has moved on pretty quickly from the controversy over attending press conferences and then her withdrawals from both the French Open and Wimbledon. Actually, the narrative has mostly turned in her favor as it relates to her mental health issues off the court. After her prolonged break, she’ll be well-rested and relaxed. A healthy Osaka, both from a mental and physical state will wreak havoc on the women’s draw. Do not forget that Osaka is the best hard-court women’s player in the world by a lot.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone in the world that can hold a candle to her hard-court play. The only names that come to mind are Serena Williams, Simona Halep, and Bianca Andreescu. Any of those players could potentially give Osaka a hard time at the US Open. However, Serena has to have a perfect day, which seems unlikely, and both Halep and Andreescu are injury prone as of late.

Don’t count out a young upstart to make some noise though. There are tough youngsters such as Marta Kostyuk or Coco Gauff that are getting better every day and could give Osaka a run for her money. Either way, it will be Osaka’s tournament to lose.

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