World number 10 Naomi Osaka will be up against Elise Mertens in the 2020 Western & Southern Open semifinal on Friday, August 28. This match begins at 11 am local time (or 4 pm BST) at the Grandstand Stadium. Get the live streaming options of this Naomi Osaka v Elise Mertens match along with its preview, head to head and tips here.
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Update: The Cincinnati Open was suspended for Thursday after the announcement of withdrawal from Naomi Osaka from the competition following the shock killing of Jacob Blake. However, she has returned to the tournament following detailed discussions with the organisers.
Naomi Osaka v Elise Mertens Head to Head
The two players have played each other twice before and won once apiece. It started with Mertens upsetting Osaka in Wuhan in 2017 before Osaka gained the revenge in the semifinal stage of the Osaka Open in 2019.
Osaka Returns to the Fold
The Japanese number one had earlier decided she would be withdrawing from the competition following her win over Anett Kontaveit in protest of a black man getting killed but she has now been convinced to return to play. Amidst what can be described as somewhat of an emotional time, it will be interesting to see how she goes in this match.
It was a tough win for Osaka as well and needed her to do something inspired.
After falling behind a set, Osaka went on a nine-game winning run, to turn the match on its head. Down 4-6, 0-2, Osaka reeled off the next six games in the second set before taking a 3-0 lead in the third before settling for a 7-5 win in the final set.
Osaka had earlier defeated Karolina Muchova and Dayana Yastremska in her first two matches to make it to the last-eight stage.
Mertens Continues Her Solid Showing
A first round at Palermo notwithstanding, Mertens’ record since the resumption of tennis has been brilliant. A sturdy showing at the Prague Open in the second week of August took her all the way to the final of that competition on clay and if there were any doubts about the shift to hard court, they were quickly dispelled in this tournament in Cincinnati.
Mertens started off with an easy win over Rebecca Peterson before Kristina Mladenovic pushed her to a third set in the second round. Veronika Kudermetova was brushed aside in the third before Mertens had no trouble crushing Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
In Osaka, Mertens will be facing her first top-10 opponent of the tournament and the second in as many competitions. The last time she was up against one, Mertens had gone down in straight sets.
Can the Dutchwoman change the record around this time?
Naomi Osaka v Elise Mertens Prediction & Tip
Osaka is 4/6 to win this but Mertens’ form is quite tempting to put one’s money on her. She starts at 6/5 to go through to the final.
Tip: Mertens to win: 6/5 (bet365)