Gauff Upended By Boulter In Gippsland Melbourne; Osaka Makes Strong Start

Gauff Upended By Boulter In Gippsland Melbourne; Osaka Makes Strong Start

Naomi Osaka plays a shot in her 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win against Britain's Katie Boulter in the third round of the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne on February 3, 2021.

The Australian played her first tournament in 11 months after opting to remain home in relatively COVID-19 free Queensland during the pandemic and even decided against defending her French Open crown.

Of the British men, Dan Evans won his match in Melbourne 6-3, 7-5 to set up a last-16 encounter against Marcus Giron.

The American will play world No. 6 Karolina Pliskova or compatriot Danielle Collins in the quarter-finals.

"I feel like there's a lot of shots that I'm missing", said the world number three, who last played competitively at the U.S. Open in September.

She next faces 20th-ranked Belgium's Elise Mertens, who knocked out Caroline Garcia of France 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

World number three Naomi Osaka was made to work hard Wednesday against in-form Katie Boulter, but fought back for a three-set victory to reach the quarter-finals of the Gippsland Trophy.

"But I'm really happy with how positive I was throughout the match".

The 23-time Grand Slam champion needed just 28 minutes to take the first set and was a class above Bulgaria's Pironkova in the key moments.

Naomi Osaka was slow to get going before beating Katie Boulter      AFP
Naomi Osaka was slow to get going before beating Katie Boulter AFP

An early break put Osaka ahead in the second but Boulter had her opportunities, creating three break opportunities but converting just one.

"For me, I thought she played really well".

The Brit had two match points she was unable to take and then saved eight of Begu's, but was unable to find her best tennis in the tiebreaks as she lost 4-6 7-6 (12-10) 7-6 (7-4).

Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was also pushed hard by American Jessica Pegula, dropping the first set and finding herself 4-1 down in the second before prevailing 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

But world number two Halep, like Williams, bucked the trend and downed Laura Siegemund in straight sets to set up a Gippsland Trophy quarter-final against Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova, who upset French Open champion Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-2.

"I was happy the way I was able to change things in the second set".

KYRGIOS MAKES WINNING RETURN: Showman Nick Kyrgios pulled victory "out of a hat" on Tuesday in his first match for a year, rallying from a set down to get his Australian Open preparations off to a winning start.

"I think the me from last year is very different from the me this year", she said.

Journalists Arrested Across Russia Amid Broader Crackdown Against Protesters
The rallies began under snowfall around 0900 GMT (5pm Singapore time) amid a huge police presence, Reuters reporters said . The raids came a few days before new protests that Navalny's supporters have called for Sunday.

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