Osaka ‘Quits’ Tennis After Succumbing To Teenager’s Defeat In US Open

4 August 2021 By Shakirat Alabi

Naomi Osaka’s US Open defence ended in tears as she suffered a stunning defeat to Leylah Fernandez , before announcing she plans to take an indefinite break from the sport.

The defending champion served for the match in the second set, but she capitulated and allowed the 18-year-old to storm to an impressive 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 on a stunned Arthur Ashe Stadium.

It was a surprise ending to her first Grand Slam back after withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon due to mental health issues.

The 23-year-old’s future in the game must now be in doubt after she said she will not play again for a “while”.

articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.

“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.

“How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry

Asked what caused the defeat, she added: “I don’t think it was her serve because I’ve been able to return pretty well against people that served better. I don’t think it’s the occasion because I’ve been in this situation before.

“I guess we’re all dealing with some stuff, but I know that I’m dealing with some stuff.”

It was the biggest win of Fernandez, the world No 73’s career, and one that sets up a fourth-round meeting with 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

The 18-year-old Canadian said during her on-court interview: “I guess I wanted to stay on court a little bit longer and I wanted to put a show on for everyone here. An hour was just not enough for me on court.

“From the beginning right before the match, I knew I was able to win.

“I wasn’t focusing on Naomi, I was only focusing on myself and what I needed to do.”

Kerber continued her resurgent summer by seeing off Sloane Stephens 5-7 6-2 6-3.

The German revealed she overcame having to sleep in Flushing Meadows on Wednesday night as Storm Ida caused her match to be cancelled late on.

She said: “I mean we got cancelled really late. I thought that we can go straight to the hotel. But it was impossible because of the storm and the rain and everything.

“We stayed here until 3:30, 4am. I was trying to get a little bit of sleep because I had the match yesterday, just like a few hours later. Yeah, that was my Wednesday night in the gym.”

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