No. 1 Naomi Osaka Loses, Serena Williams Withdraws, Roger Federer Survives Test at Miami Open
(March 23, 2019) MIAMI, FL – Eight-time champion Serena Williams withdrew from the Miami Open on Saturday due to a left knee injury. The 23-time major champion was to have played in the third round against Wang Qiang of China.
“I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a left knee injury,” said Williams through a press release to media.
“It was an amazing experience to play at the Hard Rock Stadium this year and would like to thank the Miami Open for putting on an amazing event. I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-kind tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.”
The Miami Open lost the top women’s player, Naomi Osaka, when the two-time major winner fell to Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Osaka was up a a set and a break, served for the match at 5-4 in the second, and was up a break in the third set and could not hold on to close out the match.
“I just think I got too emotional, which is something I did last match, too,” Osaka said to media. “I’m not really sure why this is happening, but it’s kind of unusual for me I think a little bit.”
“You go into the match knowing that. I wouldn’t really say it was her. I would just say I was kind of immature today. I was thinking too much, like everything was on my racquet. Honestly, she has the ability to make winners, too, whenever she wants.
“I think that was, like, one of the main problems.”
“Of course I want to win every match I play. I feel like I’ve dealt with the stress of people asking me do I have pressure because I have the No. 1 next to my name,” Osaka said. “I thought I was doing fine with that, but I guess I’m not. I think more about winning now compared to the matches before where I didn’t necessarily think that was the case.”
Hsieh discussed the key to her victory, an upset she came close to doing in the Australian Open. “Just never give up. I fight until the last point. I do really well,” she said.
“I was have a little plan and I was doing pretty well. I’m pretty happy what I’m doing, yes.”
The loss by Osaka could open up the No. 1 ranking for one of three other players on the WTA Tour including Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber or Simona Halep, depending on their results.
Osaka’s next tournament will be Stuttgart.
Roger Federer looked as though he was going to suffer an opening match loss for the second straight year at the Miami Open, but barely rallied past past qualifier and recent Delray Beach Open champion Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“Radu put me through the ringer,” Federer said after the match.
Albot started the match off breaking the 20-time major champion’s serve and targeting his error-prone backhand. The man from Moldova had complete control of the match until late in the second set, when Federer broke serve to level the contest.
“I’m happy I was able to find a way tonight,” Federer said.
Asked about what the key was to turning the match around, the Swiss said:
‘You’re looking to take on the ball, but then sometimes you also know you just cannot go big all the time. You also have to hold back.
“Sometimes you feel like it happens always at the wrong times. You pull the trigger at the wrong times. You’re going safe at the wrong times.
“That has something to do with how I thought he played his game. He seemed very clear to me, and I wasn’t. In the heat of the moment, I started forgetting stuff also that my coach told me. I felt like all the important points, points that could have led to something interesting for me, I played poorly because I was in two minds.
“Margins are slim. Then you’re down. When you’re down, you got to play differently. At the end it’s just about finding a way. These are the matches that are so key during the year for any player, is when you’re not sometimes playing your best, when you’re in search mode, that you find it somehow, you squeeze through, play better than the next round. It’s a different opponent, different conditions, different everything. Now you can look back and think maybe having played as much as I did in the first round actually maybe helped me.
“I thought actually how I protected my serve, after getting broken in the first game, was actually very good. There’s definitely really some good elements there in the game, but I did struggle obviously. I’m very, very happy that I found a way.”
“I expected a player with a great attitude, which he showed. Aggressive baseliner, moves well. He’s not afraid to come to the net. The problem is I’ve never practiced with him. I’ve never really seen him play live matches.
“I watched some on a video to get an idea. I see where he can cause problems. The difficulty was, like, I didn’t quite know where does he like to go exactly when it really matters the most. That’s just so tricky, when you don’t exactly know what his favorite shot is, is he going to play differently against you because it’s you, because I don’t have a double-handed backhand, maybe I have a different type of forehand on the run than others, I don’t know. He plays it differently.
“Yeah, so I thought it was hard. I was impressed. I have a lot of respect for those types of players who don’t have the size, have to find a different way to win. He’s a great, great player. I was impressed.”