Osaka goes down in the first round at Wimbledon
In my Wimbledon 2019 predictions I stated that Osaka was not a favorite. She exited the French Open in the third round with a whimper, and at Wimbledon she has done one better. She goes out in two sets to Putintseva in the first round 6-7, 2-6. This one has to sting for Osaka, because just ten days ago Putintseva beat her easily, 6-2, 6-3 in Birmingham. Doesn’t look like she learned anything from that loss.
Putintseva is a solid top 50 player, but not nearly a player with the weapons Osaka showed us for about five months, and which culminated in the US Open and the Australian Open.
Nothing was really working for Osaka today, she looked slow and seemed to be bothered by the bounces. There was more of what we’ve been seeing as of late – lots of unforced errors on routine ground strokes.
Two important observations for this match:
- Osaka should not have been playing a top 30 player in the first round. Wimbledon seeding system will cause more controversy with this match. 24-year-old Putintseva currently stands at 28 in the world and has been playing well. Her best results have come in the clay though, and this is probably the reason Wimbledon did not seed her. At any other Grand Slam, she would have been seeded 28, which would mean she doesn’t play a ranked player before the third round. But Wimbledon continues to march by their own tune when seeding players.
- The ghost of Sascha Bajin continues to haunt Osaka. He led her to titles at 2018 Indian Wells, the 2018 US Open, and the 2019 Australian Open, parting ways with him shortly after the Australian. Everyone asked why should would disrupt a good thing. Well, it’s too late now. Since his departure, Osaka has been exiting early at tournaments. There have been no strong showings, just losses to decent, but not great players. Maybe she should give Sascha a call back.