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TENNIS

Osaka crashes out of Cincinnati Masters in first round

Naomi Osaka has crashed against Zhang Shuai in the first round of the WTA Cincinnati Masters. It was her second first-round defeat in as many weeks.

Update:
Naomi Osaka has crashed against Zhang Shuai in the first round of the WTA Cincinnati Masters. It was her second first-round defeat in as many weeks.
MATTHEW STOCKMANAFP

Naomi Osaka can’t seem to get her groove going.

The former world number one fell this Tuesday in the first round of the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati against Zhang Shuai of China, who is ranked 44th in the world. The Japanese also lost in the first round of the Toronto Open last week, having to withdraw from her opener against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia due to a lower back injury.

Zhang dealt Osaka her defeat, 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 15 minutes, taking advantage of the poor service performance of the Japanese, with only 53% of her first services going in. Zhang will move on to the next phase against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia, who knocked down 13th-seeded Leylah Fernández of Canada.

Osaka unable to get past the second round

The first big defeat of the day in the Cincinnati women’s draw is actually not much of a surprise, because Osaka has not advanced beyond the second round of a tournament since April, when she lost in the final of the WTA 1000 in Miami against reigning world number one Iga Swiatek of Poland.

In the 24-year-old’s last three appearances- San Jose, Toronto and now in Ohio- she has lost in the second, first and first rounds respectively. She is now ranked 39th in the world, with her best ranking this year at number 13.

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