New York: On Day 5 of the ongoing US Open it was two unseeded 18-year-olds that stole the headlines in Arthur Ashe Stadium as Canada's Leylah Fernandez and Spain's Carlos Alcaraz defeated Naomi Osaka and Stefanos Tsitsipas respectively to move into the second week at Flushing Meadows for the very first time.
What did Osaka say?
Osaka said she was trying to figure out what she wanted to do next and that she "didn't know" when she was going to play her next tennis match.
"I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while," Osaka said, in tears.
She added she felt relief rather than happiness when she won matches. "And then when I lose, I feel very sad." She said she didn't think the reaction was "normal."
Nothing appeared off in a routine opening set where Osaka won. But things began to unravel in the second set when Fernandez forced a tie-break. As the Canadian 18-year-old took control and eventually won, Osaka repeatedly slammed her racquet and then left the court.
Several tennis stars have smashed their racquets during matches before. But Osaka, who is 23 years old, is known for her calm composure on the court.
"I'm not really sure why," Osaka said when reporters asked her about why she lost her cool. "I was telling myself to be calm, but I feel like maybe there was a boiling point.
"Normally, I feel like I like challenges. But recently I feel very anxious when things don't go my way, and I feel like you can feel that," she added.
Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz captured the biggest win of his career as he defeated the World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5) in a thriller to become the youngest player to reach the fourth round at a major since 1992. "I've never seen someone hit the ball so hard," Tsitsipas said after the match, as per usopen.org. "Took time to adjust. Took time to kind of develop my game around his game style."
After Alcaraz ended the Day Session with a five-set shocker over the Greek, Fernandez opened the evening with a comeback three-set win over the two-time US Open champion, Osaka.
The Canadian summarily dismissed defending champion and also the World Number 3 Naomi Osaka by 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, to break through to the Round of 16 of a major for the first time. Osaka was up a set and a break, serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set, only to be denied.
Also on the stadium courts, the Top 20 trio of Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber all advanced in three sets. Muguruza opened Ashe by knocking off 2020 finalist Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, while Halep started the Armstrong action with a 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 result against No. 19 seed Elena Rybakina. The Romanian's victory was the longest women's match of the day, clocking in at two hours, 25 minutes, including a 64-minute opening set that ended in a 13-11 tiebreak.