Japanese world number two Naomi Osaka was eliminated, on Sunday, in the second round of the Madrid championship, while Romanian Simona Halep did not fail in front of Chinese Saisai Cheng.
Osaka lost 6-4 3-6 6-1 to Czech Karolina Moshova, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open tennis tournament and who claimed the first set after a break in Japanese service.
Osaka lost 3-1 in the second set, but responded by winning five straight matches and imposed the third, with the more aggressive Moshova leading 5-1 and ended up winning the match.
The Japanese, who reached the quarter-finals two years ago, won seven titles on solid ground but is still looking for her first titles on the clay.
“I don’t think I was tired. I just made bad decisions at crucial moments in the match,” said the Australian Open and two US Open winners.
“I was very defensive in the first set. I think I managed in the middle of the second set to fix that and then the third set, really, started very badly,” said the Japanese, acknowledging her shortcomings in terms of brick dust.
“I want to learn to slide like her (Mochova). I hope to train and learn how to do it. Maybe I need a few years to play on clay … I hope I learn quickly,” he said.
In the next round, Machova will face 16th seeded Greek Maria Sakkari and her executioner next Sunday from Estonian Annette Kontavit 6-3 6-1.
Romanian Simona Halep, a two-time winner in the Madrid Championship (2016, 2017), continued with a determined move towards a hat-trick, and it took only 80 minutes to beat Chinese Saisai Cheng (6-0 6-4).
“I’ve been confident since I came here because I’ve always played well,” Halep said after the match. “I’ve had a long break after Australia. I’ve improved especially since then mentally.”
Halep will face Belgian Elise Mertens in the Round of 16, who had to work to knock out Kazakh Elena Rybakina 7-6 (7/4), 7-5.
Belarusian Arena Sabalenka, ranked fifth in the Madrid Championship, reached the second round by defeating Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-3.
Sabalenka will seek a place in the quarter-finals against American winner Jessica Bigula, who has moved to the next round due to the withdrawal of Belarusian Victoria Azarenka.
Instead, the sixth seed in the Madrid Championships, Karolina Pliskova, fell to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 7-5.
In the face of the women’s competition that started on Thursday, the men’s tournament has just started on Sunday with the spotlight on Rafael Nadal, in the absence of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal said at a news conference Sunday, before he begins his journey in what will be his fourth event this year, which arrives after his victory. Victory in Barcelona.
The five-time winner appears in Madrid at the 1000 Masters tournament in the Spanish capital, with all eyes on Roland Garros.
“My calendar is clear: Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, then Roland Garros, now is the time to pressure and make an effort in these three months and this is what I focus on,” he said.
At the Caja Magica stadium in Madrid, Spain’s Pedro Martinez, ranked 100 in the world, fell to American Tommy Ball 6-4, 7-5 in the opening match of the men’s team.
In another match, Canadian Denis Shapovalov, number 11 in the Madrid Masters 1000 and climbed to the semi-finals in 2018, beat Serbian Dusan Lyovic 6-1 6-3.