Published: Mon, August 12, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Japanese star Osaka set to return to WTA world No.1

Japanese star Osaka set to return to WTA world No.1

After sharing her efforts to try to enjoy tennis again, the 21-year-old was in great spirits despite a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Serena Williams on Friday in Toronto.

This meant that Osaka, who is set to take the court for her quarterfinal clash against Serena Williams - a rematch of the 2018 US Open final - has officially clinched the top spot, marking her 22nd week atop the WTA rankings.

Williams' meltdown at Flushing Meadows during the decider in 2018 overshadowed what was Osaka's first grand slam success, with the American revealing she consulted a therapist to deal with the fallout.

"For me, it's always fun to play her", she told a news conference.

"I grew up watching her", said Osaka on Thursday.

Osaka said she played too defensively - something she said was hard to avoid when Williams was hitting 31 winners.

"I just had to make some adjustments, mostly mentally to stay positive".

Afterwards, Osaka admitted that Williams was the better player on the night.

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At one point a spectator yelled "Game penalty!" as Williams sat on her bench after running into the net.

Andreescu, who shot to prominence with her Indian Wells triumph in March, extended her dream run to become the first Canadian woman to reach the final of the tournament since 1969.

"We haven't played since NY which was a really good match for her and I just wanted to come out and try to win a set this time because she's beaten me twice so I just wanted to do the best I could today", Williams said in an on-court interview. I know that sounds kind of weird, but if there's anyone in the world that I would want to lose to - of course I would never want to lose - I don't mind losing to her, because I learned a lot. But also, at the same time, I feel like that's a position that I think requires a lot of work and a lot of just hardheadedness. "It's definitely not where I want to be, but I'm getting there". "So this is such a big learning experience for me".

"I think in the first set we were kind of just serving it out, and then I was the one that - I don't even think I dipped".

"But, yeah, I'm not really mad at this".

One comfort for Osaka is that she will return to the top of the world rankings next week.

Williams will face Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova on Saturday.

The other semifinal will feature American Sofia Kenin (29th) against Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu (27th).

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