Tennis: Osaka recovers to hold off Gauff at WTA Cincinnati Masters

Osaka plays a forehand during her match against Cori Gauff. PHOTO: AFP

CINCINNATI (AFP) - Japan's Naomi Osaka recovered to take a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over American Coco Gauff and advance into the third round of the WTA Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday (Aug 18).

The four-time Grand Slam winner is playing her first event since the Tokyo Olympics, where she went out in the third round.

Gauff won the pair's most recent prior match in the third round of the 2020 Australian Open after losing to Osaka a year earlier at the US Open.

Before the Games, Osaka last played at Roland Garros after announcing she would reserve the right to avoid mandatory post-match media conferences, which she said damaged her mental health.

That vow lasted through a first-round stadium interview before she withdrew, going on to also skip Wimbledon.

The issue flared again this week in her first news conference, with a straightforward query causing her to burst into tears before composing herself and getting through the session.

On court, Angelique Kerber defeated Elina Svitolina 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 while former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu of Canada lost to Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-2 in the second round.

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