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Cincinnati 2022: Naomi Osaka vs Zhang Shuai, preview, head-to-head, prediction, odds and pick | Western & Southern Open 

Naomi Osaka (L) and Zhang Shuai (R)
Naomi Osaka (L) and Zhang Shuai (R)

Match Details

Fixture: Naomi Osaka vs Zhang Shuai

Date: August 15, 2022

Tournament: Cincinnati Open 2022

Round: First Round (Round of 64)

Venue: Lindner Family Tennis Center, Ohio, United States

Category: WTA 1000

Surface: Hard

Prize money: $2,527,250

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | Canada - Rogers Sportsnet, TSN | UK - Amazon Prime Video

Naomi Osaka vs Zhang Shuai preview

Osaka at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic
Osaka at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

World No. 39 Naomi Osaka will lock horns with Zhang Shuai of China in the first round of the Cincinnati Open on Monday.

Osaka has had an underwhelming season. She started well with a semi-final run at the Melbourne Summer Set 1, before withdrawing from her match against Veronika Kudermetova due to injury. The Japanese then made early exits at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

Osaka hit her stride at the Miami Open. She got past three seeded players to set up a title clash with Iga Swiatek, where she was beaten 6-4, 6-0. Her clay season was disappointing, making early exits in Madrid, Rome and Paris.

Osaka retired in the second set of her first-round match against Kaia Kanepi at the Canadian Open this week.

🏈@naomiosaka warms up before practice in Cincinnati. https://t.co/4tL2n8dKQ4
Shuai at the National Bank Open Toronto - Day 6
Shuai at the National Bank Open Toronto - Day 6

Shuai has had an up-and-down season on the singles tour. The Chinese exited in the third round at the Australian Open before losing in the first round at St. Petersburg. Her streak of early exits ended at the Lyon Open. Going into the final without dropping a set in the tournament, the 33-year-old rallied from a set down to beat Dayana Yastremska 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win her first singles title of the year.

Shuai then failed to win a match at Indian Wells, Stuttgart, Madrid and the French Open. But she started the grass season well with a quarter-final finish in Nottingham before reaching her second final of the year in Birmingham. Shuai was forced to retire in the title clash in the first set due to injury.

なんと、シンシナティ1回戦、張帥対大坂なおみ。Zhang Shuai vs. Naomi Osaka at Cincinnati 1R. https://t.co/Zh8UecYQKy

Naomi Osaka vs Zhang Shuai head-to-head

The pair have faced each other five times in the past, with Osaka leading 3-2 in the head-to-head. Osaka won their most recent encounter at the 2018 Beijing Open in straight sets.

Naomi Osaka vs Zhang Shuai odds

PlayerMoneylineHandicap BetsTotal Games (Óver & Under)
Naomi Osaka-300-4.5 (-115)Over 19.5 (-135)
Shuai Zhang+225+4.5 (-115)Under 19.5 (-105)

(All odds are sourced from BetMGM)

Naomi Osaka vs Zhang Shuai prediction

Osaka will head into the match as the favorite, but Shuai is a smart operator with plenty of tricks up her sleeve.

Osaka possesses tremendous power, which often gives her a huge advantage over opponents. However, if misdirected, it can often lead to a high error count. The Japanese star has tried to improve the mental side of her game of late, but is still vulnerable to sudden losses of concentration.

Shuai is a doubles specialist, but has had reasonable success in singles as well. The Chinese player has a decent all-round game and will look to make use of her immense experience to frustrate Osaka as much as possible.

The outcome, however, will depend on Osaka's mentality coming into the match. If she remains calm and enjoys her tennis, there isn't much Shuai will be able to do to stop her.

Pick: Osaka to win in straight sets.

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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