New York, September 1: Top-ranked defending champion Naomi Osaka defeated US 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-0 on Saturday in a showdown at Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach the US Open’s fourth round.
The 21-year-old from Japan, also the reigning Australian Open champion, dominated the American who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon to book a last-16 matchup against Swiss 13th seed Belinda Bencic.
The emotional clash was followed by tearful on-court interviews, Osaka asking Gauff to join her with the microphone as they met at the net.
“I said no because I knew I was going to cry the whole time,” tearful Gauff said after Osaka talked her into it.
Gauff looked toward her doubles matches upcoming with partner Caty McNally then begged off, not wanting to spoil the moment for Osaka.
Gauff was aware of the controversial ending to last year’s US Open final on the same court that left the awards ceremony a bittersweet one for Osaka — fans booing after the umpire had awarded a penalty game to Osaka following insults from Serena Williams.
Osaka, fighting back her own tears, spoke to Gauff’s parents, saying, “You guys raised an amazing player. I remember I used to see you guys training. Both of us made it and we’re still working hard.”
Nadal breezes past Chung Hyeon to enter fourth round
Rafael Nadal cruised into the U.S. Open fourth round with a business-like 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Chung Hyeon on Saturday.
The three-times champion took control of the match when he broke the South Korean’s serve in the first set to grab a 4-2 lead and never looked back on a sun-soaked Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
Next up for Nadal is a last 16-clash with 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who came out on top in his slugfest with John Isner on the Grandstand court.
Nadal had been on the court for just over two hours prior to his third-round match after defeating John Millman in straight sets on Tuesday before getting a walkover into the third round when Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrew.
The second-seeded Spaniard, who has been hampered by troublesome knees throughout his career, did not wear his usual tape on his legs during the match.
“Tape is not working anymore,” he said with a smile during his on-court interview.
“I am happy to be playing on hard courts and I am trying to play a little more aggressive.
Nadal will have his work cut out when he meets big-serving Cilic on Monday, who defeated Isner 7-5 3-6 7-6(6) 6-4.
Nadal said the key was to toppling an opponent like Cilic was holding serve and making the most of his opportunities when receiving.
“Chances are not a lot, so you need to be ready to expect a very tough one,” he told reporters. (AFP)