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Cincinnati 2020: Naomi Osaka vs Anett Kontaveit preview, head-to-head & prediction | Western & Southern Open

Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Western & Southern Open
Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Western & Southern Open
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 26 Aug 2020, 10:30 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Naomi Osaka vs Anett Kontaveit

Date: 26 August 2020

Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020

Round: Quarterfinals

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA

Category: WTA Premier 5

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $1,950,079

Match timing: 1 pm EDT, 10.30 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN

Naomi Osaka vs Anett Kontaveit preview

Anett Kontaveit at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open
Anett Kontaveit at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open

World No. 10 Naomi Osaka will look to make her first semifinal appearance since Brisbane when she takes on Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinal of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday.

After a brilliant end to her 2019 campaign, Osaka was not in top form at the start of 2020. She made an early exit at the Australian Open, and then lost in dispiriting fashion at the Fed Cup just before the pandemic struck.

In New York, however, the Japanese international has rediscovered her game. She has defeated talented opponents in Karolina Muchova and Dayana Yastremska, and now looks like one of the tournament favorites.

Osaka was in particularly good form in the Round of 16 match against Yastremska, which she won 6-3 6-1 in a little over an hour. She smashed seven aces and broke serve a total of four times, without conceding a break even once.

Meanwhile Osaka's opponent, World No. 12 Anett Kontaveit, is herself coming into the match on the back of some impressive tennis. Kontaveit has registered dominant wins over Daria Kasatkina, Jil Teichmann and Maria Bouzkova in New York so far, and looks set for more.

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The Estonian was a quarterfinalist at this year's Australian Open and has been very active since the resumption of the tour after lockdown. She finished with a runner-up appearance at the Palermo Open, and is yet to lose a set at the Western & Southern Open this year.

Naomi Osaka vs Anett Kontaveit head-to-head

Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Western & Southern Open
Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Western & Southern Open

This meeting is the fourth between the two players, and Naomi Osaka currently leads the head-to-head 3-0 over Anett Kontaveit.

Their last encounter came at the Dubai Open in 2018, which Osaka won 6-2 7-6. That match was preceded by a routine 6-0, 6-2 win for the Japanese at the Tokyo Open in 2016.

Their first meeting on the tour had come when both players were teenagers, at the Surbiton ATP Challenger, which Osaka won in three long sets.

Naomi Osaka vs Anett Kontaveit prediction

Anett Kontaveit at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open
Anett Kontaveit at the 2020 Palermo Ladies Open
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Given their rankings and previous history on the WTA tour, Naomi Osaka would go into this match as the favorite. However, Kontaveit's excellent post-lockdown form promises to make this a close encounter.

Osaka is unlikely to change her usual approach of measured power play, especially since it provided such great results in her match against Yastremska. But Kontaveit has proved in the past that she can more than hold her own against aggressive power players.

The Estonian, who herself is in excellent serving form, will be looking to use her versatility and ability to absorb pace from the baseline to increase the length of the rallies. That in turn could cause Osaka to get frustrated and cough up unforced errors.

Prediction: Anett Kontaveit to win in three sets.

Published 26 Aug 2020, 10:30 IST
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