Bianca Andreescu Triumph Over Naomi Osaka in Thrilling ‘s-Hertogenbosch Showdown 2024

Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka faced off for the first time since 2019 in an electrifying match at the Libema Open, with Andreescu emerging victorious in three thrilling sets to secure a spot in the semifinals.

For the first time in five years, Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka faced up on the tennis court. Both previous Grand Slam winners weren’t let down, but Andreescu prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to advance to the Libema Open semifinals.

After missing the previous nine months of 2024 due to a back ailment, Andreescu was competing in just her second tournament of the year. Nevertheless, she overcame a tough match against a returning Osaka to defeat the former world No. 1 in two hours and fifteen minutes on Center Court.

Bianca Andreescu Triumph Over Naomi Osaka in Thrilling ‘s-Hertogenbosch Showdown 2024
Bianca Andreescu. Photo Credit:

Remarkably, this was Osaka and Andreescu’s first meeting since they competed in one of the best matches of 2019 at the China Open. Andreescu was on a 16-match winning streak on hard courts, had recently won her first Grand Slam championship at the US Open, and had never lost against a player ranked in the top ten. Osaka was also having a career-best season; she had risen to the top of the world rankings and won her maiden Australian Open earlier in the year.

Both players have had many physical and psychological challenges in the five years since that stunning three-set match: Osaka missed the 2023 season to give birth to her first child, while Andreescu could only play a part-time schedule because of injuries. The Canadian was sidelined from August to May due to a stress fracture in her back, but she made a triumphant return at Roland Garros.

Though she lost to the eventual champion in three sets, Osaka had also experienced an incredible outcome in Paris, taking world No. 1 Iga Swiatek to just a point during the second round and seemingly putting her natural surface demons to rest.

The four-time major winner made a smooth return to grass tennis, winning back-to-back matches for the first time since 2018. She did it by overcoming Elise Mertens, ranked fourth, and Suzane Lamens, ranked sixth. This set up a rematch with Andreescu, another wild card who upset Yuan Yue, ranked sixth.

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Andreescu, who finished second at Bad Homburg in 2022, has demonstrated promise on grass in the past and used that to his advantage in an excellent opening set against Osaka. The 23-year-old managed to serve it out after 40 minutes with a spectacular volley, despite multiple weather delays.

With a huge serve out wide in the second set, Osaka stormed back to take a 5-0 lead and hold off a late push by Andreescu to force a decider.

When the third set began, both women survived break points, but Andreescu broke first, winning a game with a backhand return winner to lead 4-2 and putting down a solid serve to get herself within one game of victory.

Osaka responded magnificently, holding serve to remain in the match and launching a forceful forehand winner to start the ninth game. Serving for the match, Andreescu used two aces to rally from a 0-30 deficit, but Osaka persisted, winning with a forehand again and breaking serve off a backhand error before holding to even the score.

Osaka threw down a hold at love to push the match into a decisive tiebreaker, but Andreescu ended her run of games to take the lead back. The first change of ends in the Sudden Death saw the two exchange mini-breaks, with Andreescu tripping but managing to keep the score tied at three points apiece.

Andreescu, who was leading 4–3, was the first to tie the score with a brilliant forehand slice. Osaka’s forehand, however, narrowly missed the netcord and fell back onto her side.

Dalma Galfi, a qualifier from Hungary, is waiting for Andreescu in the semifinals.

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