Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka said her poor attitude cost her during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Lesia Tsurenko in yesterday’s Brisbane International semi-finals.
Osaka went into the match as firm favorite, but looked flat from the outset as Tsurenko raced through the match in just 65 minutes.
The Japanese star made 26 unforced errors and was broken three times in a disappointing display.
She said after the match that she did not know how to cope once things started to go against her.
“If I’m being really frank, I just feel like I had the worst attitude today,” she said. “I feel like I didn’t really know how to cope with not playing well.”
“I was sulking a little bit, and like there are moments that I tried not to do that, but then the ball wouldn’t go in, and then I would go back to being, like, childish and stuff,” she said.
“I feel like last year I did a lot of that,” she added. “I’m trying to change it more and I think I have.”
However, Osaka said that the loss was probably a better learning experience than if she had made the final.
“I think today I learned ... what I can do to improve the situation,” she said.
The 29-year-old Tsurenko, who is to rise to a career-high world ranking of 24, said she had adopted a new game plan during the off-season.
“I feel better with my serve and that I am moving well,” she said. “I feel more strong now, so I can kind of handle every kind of pressure on court, even when someone like Naomi is playing really strong.”
Tsurenko is to play Czech Karolina Pliskova in today’s final after the fifth seed beat Croatian Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4.
Pliskova had the edge over Vekic in a tight match and is to go into the final as favorite, but the 2017 Brisbane champion said she preferred that to being the underdog.
“I think I’m the kind of player which needs a little bit of the pressure because if I don’t have it, I just don’t try that much,” she added.
Japanese flags were still waving in the crowd at Pat Rafter Arena for the next match, when second seed Kei Nishikori defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-2 in 66 minutes.
“Felt very good physically and, tennis-wise, I think it was perfect,” Nishikori said.
He is to play fourth seed Daniil Medvedev in today’s final, where the Russian is hoping to claim his first title since Memphis in 2016.
Medvedev reached the decider with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 win over France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
He came back from 0-3 down in the first set, then saved two set points in the first set tiebreak before running away with the second.
“I was really nervous and he started amazing,” Medvedev said. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I managed to come back and had more opportunities.”
In women’s doubles, Taiwanese sisters Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching had to settle for second after they were crushed in the final 1-6, 1-6 by Nicole Melichar of the US and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic.
Last year, Latisha paired with Peschke to form the top-seeded duo in San Jose, where they won the title.
Additional reporting by AP and CNA
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