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China Open 2019: Bianca Andreescu falls to Naomi Osaka in first-ever meeting between two young stars
Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka met for the first time on-court Friday, and it was everything a tennis fan dreamt it would be.
In a battle of wills and youthful competition, Osaka outlasted Andreescu 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the China Open, snapping Andreescu's 17-match singles win streak. It was her first complete-match loss since March 1.
Early on, it was the Canadian controlling the pace of play. She jumped out to a strong 5-1 lead in the first set, and it started to look like a walk in the park. However, the 21-year-old player from Japan had other plans. She battled her way back to tie the set at 5-5 but was unable to complete the comeback, with Andreescu stealing a crucial 11th-game break to take a 6-5 lead that would eventually turn into a 7-5 set win.
Starting off, the second set seemed like more of the same as the Mississauga, Ont. native took a 3-1 lead following a break of Osaka in the third game. Unfortunately for her, Osaka would battle back once again and fail to yield another game in the set, riding a five-game winning streak to a 6-3 set.
The third set played to a much different tune. Whereas in the first two sets, it was sizeable leads that were erased, the final set was a series of minor leads that kept being wiped clean. The set was tied at 1-1, 3-3 and 4-4 before Osaka put the nail in the coffin with a break in the ninth game, leading the set for the first time. Andreescu pushed her to her limit on a number of occasions in the contest, but the experience of the 21-year-old seemed to outweigh the experience of the 19-year-old.
Both women have become household names for tennis fans. The last two U.S. Open titles have been claimed by the pair with Andreescu defeating Serena Williams in 2019 and Osaka accomplishing the same feat against the same opponent in 2018.
The tale of the tape suggested the match would be a close one; four WTA titles for Osaka compared to Andreescu's three. The 21-year-old against the 19-year-old. U.S. Open champion versus U.S. Open champion. It was just that.
The first meeting had fireworks and drama, essentials for the sport. It is unlikely to be the final meeting between the two, with both in the infancy of what looks to be long, successful careers. Even Osaka expressed on Twitter how much it took out of her to win against such a formidable opponent in Andreescu.
Let’s not do this again anytime soon pls …
What an amazing match!
The first chapter of what will be a storied rivalry ends with a win for @naomi_Osaka_ over Andreescu, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4!#ChinaOpen#大坂なおみ
1:15 PM - Oct 4, 2019
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(4) Naomi Osaka def. (5) Bianca Andreescu 5-7, 6-3, 6-4