28th January 2023

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Naomi Osaka, US Open victory

With one set and two games behind, Naomi Osaka looked lost to a stunning Victoria Azarenka who threatened to flee with the US Open women’s singles title. A few calibrations and changes of momentum later, the 22-year-old reversed the stage and won 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, becoming the fourth woman in the Open Era to win a final of the Grand Slam. after losing. the first set 6-1 or 6-0. Here are some key points;

Azarenka service

  • Osaka started the game extremely flat, not even playing “70%” by his own assessment. But was Azarenka who crushed her young opponent. In the first set of 27 minutes, Azarenka missed a serve of 17, a first serve rate of 94%.
  • The second set was 78%, still above her tournament average of 72, but Azarenka’s serve fell slightly, as did her chances. On average, the 31-year-old’s first serve is not the fastest at 156 km / h, and the second is 25 km / h slower. But she was hitting corners and opening angles against a moving Osaka in the first set.
  • When the precise attack gave way to more service errors, Osaka replied: He won 53% and 50% received points after 24% in the first set. Osaka won 5/9 and 9/13 points with Azarenka’s second serve in the last two sets. Osaka service
  • Another 180 total from the first set. While Azarenka was frying, Osaka became more daring. After starting with a 64 first serve percentage, two double faults and no aces, Osaka recorded 77% first serves, zero double faults and five aces, including a pair at 2-1 to keep the love-15 and consolidate. the break.
  • Osaka serves a lot, 20 km / h faster than Azarenka, but on Saturday it was used a lot in the important moments. And Azarenka, considered one of the best among women, felt the heat. The Belarusian won 14 of 25 receiving points in the first set, then 8 of 22 in the second.

Backhand battle

  • Osaka’s flashy backhand isn’t as effective as the forehand, and Azarenka has targeted the weaker side, often hitting the Japanese in the first set. But when he recovered, his backhand improved as well.
  • While the hit ended with two winners and five unforced errors in the first set, Osaka’s backhand was 3-2 in the second. As with the first serves, Osaka also turned things around in the backhand battle.
  • Small adjustments, like going down center court and anticipating reach, allowed him to attack the opponent’s backhand. Azarenka’s setback went from 4 winners-1 direct error in the first game to 3-6 in the second.

Close it

  • As after the first set, the match seemed certain after the second; only this time it seemed to be on the osaka highway.
  • In the decider’s third game, he beat Azarenka with a winning backhand at the end of a 16-stroke game and consolidated at 0-40 to bring him to 4-1. And then Azarenka broke it the next time she served.
  • The tides could have turned a second time and Osaka could have given up. Instead, the 22-year-old responded immediately, recovered the serve and shut it down.
  • Both players were aiming for their third Grand Slam title. And while Osaka’s older nine-year-old Azarenka has more experience, her rival has more recent experience beating the big boys. Osaka now has three major titles in three years. Azarenka’s last triumph came at the 2013 Australian Open.
  • Osaka was also more efficient at deciding outfits. While their overall record for wins and losses in the third set is 74-36, Osaka is 29-4 since winning the 2018 US Open. In the same period, Azarenka’s record in the decision making is 13-13, up from 107-76 in total.
  • The score and performance reflect Azarenka’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 semi-final victory over Serena Williams; a crash that saw the latter fade after a good start. Saturday. Azarenka looked like she was running out of gas. During a change at the end of the third set, Azarenka got up and stretched.
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