Naomi Osaka removes herself at the French Open following personal issues
On Sunday, Naomi Osaka defeated Patricia Tig in straight sets (6-4, 7-6) at the French Open. Following the match, Osaka declined to have a press conference due to mental health issues.
Following this decision, Osaka was fined $15,000 along with threats of expulsion by tournament organizers. Osaka then put out a statement informing the public that she would be pulling herself out of the tournament.
“Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Osaka said. “I now think the best thing for the tournament, the other players, and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”
The Japanese star is currently the No. 2 tennis player in the world with a 13-3 record this year, including a major title back in February after winning the Australian Open.
The move granted her next opponent, Ana Bogdan, a walkover win into the third round to face No. 33 ranked Paula Badosa at 12 p.m. Friday. Badosa is coming off of back-to-back victories in straight sets.
Ash Barty forced to exit match and tournament
Top-ranked Ash Barty was appearing to find herself having a second-round exit on Thursday after losing the first set 6-1 to unranked Magda Linette before a hip injury derailed her French Open title run in the second set.
Linette placed a beautiful serve just inside of the center service line, and as Barty made her move to explode right, she pulled up in apparent pain. Following Linnette’s set victory, Barty walked over to the ref and sadly informed the referee that she could no longer continue.
At the young age of 25, Barty has compiled an impressive resume in 2021. The Australian native has recorded a 27-5 singles record with three singles titles and one doubles title.
Barty’s departure due to injury now opens the door for No. 25 Ons Jabuer, who has won back-to-back rounds in straight sets to face Linette in the third round on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Americans headline the third round matchups
After two huge departures from this year’s major tournament, Americans have some of the most compelling matchups going into the third round of the French Open.
The most intriguing of them all comes in one of the first matches on Saturday in No. 13 Jennifer Brady heading up against No. 24 Cori Gauff.
Jennifer Brady survived a scare from Anastasija Sevastova, which saw Brady win that match 6-4, 2-6, 7-5. The 26-year-old now looks to reach another major final four this year following her appearance at that stage in the Australian Open.
Cori Gauff struggled in her doubles debut with Venus Williams after losing in three sets to Ellen Perez and Saisai Zheng but has shined in her singles run. The young phenom has cruised into the third round after winning both matches in straight sets.
These two Americans have faced each other two times before, once in singles and once in doubles. Brady came out victorious in both matchups beating Gauff head-to-head in the Lexington Challenger in straight sets en route to a tournament championship.
However, 17-year-old Gauff is red hot, coming off a singles title just weeks ago in the Emilia-Romagna Open with a 23-9 record in 2021.
Brady is looking to recapture the magic she had in the Australian Open that saw her play her way all the way to the championship before falling to Naomi Osaka. Other than that tournament, she is just 6-6 this year.
Another 9 a.m. matchup features another ranked matchup between two Americans in No. 4 Sofia Kenin and No. 28 Jessica Pegula. Both had to survive tough first-round matchups that saw them pulling through after three grueling sets before winning their next matchups in straight sets.
This sets the stage for a huge matchup in round three between two US heavyweights. Kenin may come in ranked top five in the world of tennis following a strong 2020 campaign, but it’s Pegula that has had the better start this year.
The young New Yorker is 21-9 this season with an impressive run in the Australian Open before eventually falling to Jennifer Brady in three sets. She will be looking to continue her run to win her second-ever singles title.
Kenin, on the other hand, has a strong resume after winning two of her five singles titles last year and is looking to get back on track on Saturday. Pegula won the first two matches between the two in 2016 and 2018, but Kenin won most recently in the Yarra Valley Classic in three sets.
Germany performs historically bad
The women’s singles tournament started back in 1897, and for the first time in 63 years (1958), there were no German’s featured in the second round.
In fact, all three German natives exited the tournament in the first round. The head of women’s tennis at the German Tennis Federation, Barbara Rittner, expressed her concern for the future of women’s tennis in Germany.
“We have some great talent, but we do not have anyone who is exceptional,” Rittner said. “There is currently no 14 or 15-year-old in German tennis, who I would immediately say wait two more years, and she’ll be a star.”
This is concerning for a number of reasons, namely the fact that all three German stars(Petkovic, Kerber, Siegemund) are 33 years of age and heading towards the end of their careers.
This is a historic low for a country that has seen the highest of highs with Steffi Graf, who won six French Open titles in a 12-year span starting in the late eighties and continuing through the nineties. Graf retired back in 1999 following her sixth and final French Open championship.
The future of German women’s tennis is looking grim for a historically successful nation in the sport as they try to find who will carry the torch for the next generation.