Miami Open: Osaka Stunned; Williams Withdraws; Federer Holds On


MIAMI: In a short stretch of Saturday afternoon, the Miami Open lost two of its biggest attractions — and just held on to a third. Top-ranked Naomi Osaka lost her third-round match, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 to 27th-seeded Hsieh Su-wei. Midway through Osaka’s match, Serena Williams, an eight-time tournament champion, unexpectedly withdrew, citing a left knee injury.
Osaka, who had emerged as the sport’s best front-runner, had won 63 straight matches when winning the first set, dating to 2016. Osaka also led early in the third set, 2-0, before Hsieh leveled and then took a 4-3 lead she did not let go. Hsieh, a crafty 33-year-old veteran, closed out the victory on her first match point, hitting an overhead smash that Osaka blocked back, and then finishing off the point with an unreturnable slice volley.
Osaka had beaten Hsieh earlier this year in the third round of the Australian Open, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. Hsieh has used her unorthodox game of jabs and feints to establish a reputation as a giant killer; she knocked then-No. 1 Simona Halep out of the third round of Wimbledon last year.
”It’s always great to pick up a better level during the match,” Hsieh said in her on-court interview. “Every time you’ve made it and you beat a good player, you feel, ‘Wow, this is everything. This is so amazing, and I’ve made it.’”


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