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Despite coming within two points of a third title, Naomi Osaka eventually fell short, losing 6-1, 7-5 to Angelique Kerber in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday night.
John Wawrow of the Associated Press spoke with Osaka, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Sunday, about her disappointing loss, the Grand Slam title and her experience playing in Cincinnati.
On her sense of accomplishment after coming so close to her third career WTA Tour win:
“It is what it is. There was still a match to play in the final. I gave it my best and hope to get a little sleep at night and be ready for the next one.”
On how her short preparation impacted her match against Kerber:
“It was difficult obviously. Just trying to handle the pressure and not make too many mistakes and hitting the right shots. The first match I played in the second round I made a lot of mistakes and I didn’t hit as many shots as I could. This match I hit a lot of shots. But the feeling was the same. Just trying to have positive confidence and doing the best I can.”
On trying to wait out the point when Sharapova was on serve to play her signature “Come on”:
“It was a good feeling because I hope to play more matches and I don’t know how to time them out like that. I had just 15 seconds. In the back of my mind I know it was happening but I was like ‘I cannot do anything now because I have to come out’.”