When Osaka quit with a 7-6 (7/4), 3-0 deficit, Kaia Kanepi of Estonia advanced. Last week’s runner-up in Washington, Kanepi, required 71 minutes on the court and broke three times before retiring. The defeated Osaka broke down in tears.
She had been recovering from an Achilles injury, and that was her first competition since the French Open.
She had her greatest performance of the year before that run. Reaching the Miami Open final in early April before falling to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. The eighth-ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain will play the 31st-ranked Kanepi next.
Naomi Osaka opening match in Montreal Open
In the opening set, Osaka committed four of her five unforced errors and four of her double faults. Three unforced errors from Kanepi helped her win the first game, but after taking a 2-1 lead, the Japanese star lost steam.
For a 5-3 advantage, Kanepi won four of the following seven games. The next two set-point possibilities from Kanepi required Osaka to fight her way out of them. Osaka was able to tie it up and move the set to a tiebreaker with a combination of a potent backhand and numerous mistakes from Kanepi.
When the tiebreaker was at 3-3, Kanepi upped her game, scoring four of the following five points while Osaka gave her a set point with a shot beyond the baseline.
In the second set, Kanepi capitalised on Osaka’s errors and continued to gain the upper hand by hitting pinpoint forehands past the Japanese superstar.
Kanepi finished the match with a powerful serve that Osaka returned high and wide after she had delivered her second ace of the set.
Osaka comments on her back pain during the match
“I felt my back from the start of the match and despite trying to push through it. I just wasn’t able to today,” Osaka said.
“I’d like to pay credit to Kaia for playing well and want to wish her all the best for the rest of the tournament.”
“I felt I needed a little more time to get used to new things, but after that I felt comfortable.”
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