Naomi Osaka rallies to defeat Coco Gauff in the Round of 32 at the Western & Southern Open

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Playing in her first WTA main draw match since withdrawing from the French Open in June, Naomi Osaka, the No. 2 player in the WTA world rankings, needed a come-from-behind win to defeat up-and-coming American star Coco Gauff Wednesday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in the Round of 32 at the Western & Southern Open.

It took three sets, but Osaka got the job done, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Wednesday was the third meeting between Gauff, the youngest player in the main draw at 17 years old, and Osaka, 23. It was their first meeting outside of a Major. Their previous two meetings came at the 2019 U.S. Open (Osaka won 6-3, 6-0) and the 2020 Australian Open (Gauff won 6-3, 6-4).

Naomi Osaka defeated Coco Gauff, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on Wednesday,
Naomi Osaka defeated Coco Gauff, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on Wednesday,

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At the conclusion of the match, Osaka wore a face mask with a Haitian flag. Osaka's father is a Haitian American and Osaka has already pledged her prize money this week to Haiti following the destruction caused by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake Saturday.

It looked as if Gauff might stumble at the start Wednesday, needing to save two break points in her first service game, a feat she accomplished en route to taking the first set.

Not long after, Gauff pounced on Osaka's second service game in the second set and took another break point off the four-time Grand Slam champion, but it didn't last long because Osaka answered immediately with her first break point of the match.

After Osaka's first break point early in the second set, she seemed to settle into a rhythm and remained in control for the rest of the match.

Osaka, last year's W&S Open runner-up when the tournament occurred in New York, is through to the round of 16.

Gauff is out of the singles bracket, but she and partner Caty McNally are still alive in the doubles draw. They're scheduled to play in the evening Wednesday after Gauff gets suitable rest.

Women's top seeds stumble

It was a rough start to the day for the women seeded in the main draw. Three of the first matches on Wednesday saw top seeds fall.

First it was No. 7 Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, who lost in her W&S Open debut to Karolina Muchova, 6-4, 6-2. Then it was Angelique Kerber who upset No. 4 Elina Svitolina on Center Court, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, and No. 15 Elise Mertens bowed out of the bracket, 3-6, 2-6, against Elena Rybakina.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Naomi Osaka rallies to beat Coco Gauff at Western & Southern Open