Last year’s losing finalist Garbine Muguruza opened up on her defeat to World Number 3 Naomi Osaka in the pre-quarters of the Australian Open on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters after finishing on the losing side of the fiercely fought three-setter, the 2-time Grand Slam champion said that the difference between the two players eventually came down to just “one point”.
The Spaniard wasn’t too far out in her assessment as for a large part of the match, there wasn’t much to separate the two players.
Not much to separate Naomi Osaka and Muguruza in the fourth-round tie
Osaka won 93 points to Muguruza’s 90, and even in terms of points won on the first serve, the two players were separated by just four percentage points.
However, it was the Spanish-Venezuelan who faltered at the final stretch as the Japanese eked out a hard-fought win and progressed to the last-eight.
Picking out the moment in the match which she felt proved decisive in the end, Muguruza said it was the “big serve” that Osaka produced at a crucial stage in the final set that probably tilted the game her way.
She added that while one would have to analyze carefully to sift more moments where the match shifted Osaka’s way, she said “overall, it was a pretty good match” with both playing at a similar level.
“We had a lot of good points”: Garbine Muguruza on the Naomi Osaka clash
From a point where Muguruza was 5-3 up in the final set and on match point, the pendulum swung Osaka’s way. “We had a lot of good points,” Muguruza said, adding she was disappointed not to have cashed in on the big points and put the match to bed.
“It’s never a good feeling losing a match that you feel like you could have changed in one second,” the World Number 14 said.
Another piece of statistics that stood out in the match was the number of breakpoint opportunities that either player managed to convert.
There wasn’t much in it as while Osaka converted 5 of 14, it was Muguruza who produced a better conversion rate, winning 4 of 8 breakpoints.
Another standout feature of this Valentine’s Day blockbuster at the Australian Open was that at no point in the match did one look to outplay the other, and it came down to margins in the end.
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