Naomi Osaka vs Shuai Zhang
August 16, 2022 11:00 am EDT
The Line: Shuai Zhang / Naomi Osaka
(Click here for latest betting odds)
Naomi Osaka and Shuai Zhang meet in the first round of the 2022 tennis Western & Southern Open.
Naomi Osaka lost her opening match in Toronto to Kaia Kanepi, where she retired in the second set due to a back injury. In the losing effort, Osaka had 5 double faults and was broken 3 times. It’s going to be interesting to see what Osaka looks like a little over a week later. Osaka has now lost 4 of her last 5 matches, and all of those losses were decided in straight sets. With sluggish play and an inconsistent schedule, it’s hard to have a lot of confidence in Osaka until she can get her act and confidence together. Only time will tell at this point. Osaka has split her last 6 matches on hard court.
Shuai Zhang lost her second round match in Toronto to Simona Halep, where she had 6 double faults and was broken 5 times. Zhang has split her last 8 played matches overall, and each of her last 9 matches have been decided in straight sets. Zhang has had issues with double faults recently, and her second serve has given her a lot of trouble. Since making the final in Birmingham, Zhang has had issues getting out of her own way. Zhang has lost her opening match 5 times since Stuttgart. Zhang has split her last 8 matches on hard court.
Osaka has won 3 of the 5 meetings against Zhang, including the most recent meeting in 2018 Beijing. Osaka is 2-1 against Zhang on hard court, with the only loss coming in 2016 Tokyo. Four of the 5 meetings were decided in straight sets.
You can make a case for either side here, as both players are dangerous on top of their game, but they’re both in rough shape at the moment. Osaka is probably in worse shape, which makes her a tricky pick. However, Osaka is the better player here and her powerful return is sure to give Zhang issues. Osaka has also beaten up on Zhang in past meetings, and she’s a much more complete player than she was years ago, despite her struggles this year.
I’ll side with Osaka, but this is a hide and watch play.