2021 Australian Open: Osaka leads Team Yonex into the second week

MELBOURNE, Australia – Four players from Team Yonex recorded a ‘first’ and Naomi Osaka won her 17th-straight match at the halfway point of the Australian Open.

Most Interesting Match
[28] Donna Vekic (CRO) rallied back from a set and 0-3 down and saved a match point to squeak out a 2-hour, 36-minute third round victory.

Vekic finally built momentum after saving the match point with a forehand winner. She won 11 of the last 13 points to close out the second set in a tiebreaker, finally testing Kaia Kanepi, who took out defending champion Sofia Kenin in the second round.

Vekic broke Kanepi in the third game of the final set and never trailed again, securing a 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 win to advance to the second week in Melbourne for the first time in her career.

Too Tough
Tournament favorite [3] Naomi Osaka (JPN) was tested for the first time this tournament. Facing a crafty Ons Jabeur, Osaka needed to save three break points in her first two service games that combined for 18 minutes.

Staying tough while fighting off Jabeur’s best, Osaka started to build some momentum with a break to go up 4-2 and eventually closed out the first set. The 2019 champion got off to a much smoother start to begin the second and very rarely felt any pressure on serve to advance with a routine 6-3, 6-2 win.

Osaka faces another former major champion in [14] Garbiñe Muguruza. It will be the pair’s first career match up.

Fast Facts

  • Since reaching the finals of Roland-Garros in 2019, [19] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) went 1-5 in Grand Slam appearances, struggling with a wrist injury that resulted in surgery. Now, the 21-year-old is back in the second week of a major for the third time in her young career.
  • Osaka leads the tournament in aces with 20.
  • Casper Ruud (NOR) became the second Norwegian player to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam. The other? His father, Christian.
  • Jessica Pegula (USA) lost the first six points of the match but was simply stunning after the slow start, hitting 21 winners to cruise, 6-2, 6-1. It’s her first-ever second week appearance at a major.
  • After defeating two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the first round, Pegula (USA) has spent less than two hours on court, cruising into final 16 for the first time in her career.
  • Pegula is one of three unseeded players remaining on the women’s side.

Official Partner of the Australian Open
The Yonex Stringing Team is the Official Stringing Team of the Australian Open for the 6th-straight year. The 2021 team consists of 26 stringers from six countries and is dedicated to providing the world standard of racquet stringing and is supported by the Made-in-Japan PRECISION 9.0 and ProTech 8 Deluxe machines that excel in precision stringing.

Team Yonex
[24] Casper Ruud (NOR) | EZONE / POLYTOUR SPIN, PRO / 75th Anniversary Collection / ECLIPSION 3 def. Radu Albot (MDA) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

[28] Donna Vekic (CRO) | VCORE / POLYTOUR REV def. Kaia Kanepi, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4
Jessica Pegula (USA) | EZONE def. Kristina Mladenovic, 6-2, 6-1
[19] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) | EZONE / POLYTOUR AIR def. Sorana Cirstea, 6-2, 6-4
[3] Naomi Osaka (JPN) | EZONE / POLYTOUR STRIKE def. Ons Jabeur, 6-3, 6-2