Wild card Jil Teichmann stunned Naomi Osaka on Thursday at the Western & Southern Open, coming from behind after dropping the opening set to earn a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory and move to the quarterfinals.
Osaka double-faulted seven times and committed several unforced errors to allow Teichmann back into the match. The 24-year-old overcame her own early struggles to battle back, particularly with a strong service game that gained momentum as the match progressed.
SOAK IT ALL IN ✨<br><br>🇨🇭 <a href="https://twitter.com/jilteichmann?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jilteichmann</a> wins the biggest match of her career! She defeats the No.2 seed Osaka in a three set fight to secure her place in the final eight 😍<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CincyTennis?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CincyTennis</a> <a href="https://t.co/ORdVbXfEOi">pic.twitter.com/ORdVbXfEOi</a>
"I knew she's a very tough opponent. She's a Grand Slam champion. I'm the underdog, so ... my plan was to just play my game," Teichmann said after the match.
"I move very good, I change up everything I can—directions, height, everything—and I think she didn't really feel very comfortable about it, and I served very good."
Osaka has not been in good form since making her return to tennis at the 2021 Summer Olympics. She was defeated in the third round by Marketa Vondrousova in Tokyo and couldn't get past her second match in Cincinnati.
The former world No. 1 took two months off from tennis after withdrawing from the French Open over mental health concerns. She chose not to play at Wimbledon but said she was feeling much more like herself in Tokyo.
"I don't know. I think definitely this whole COVID thing was really stressful with the bubbles and not seeing people and not having the interactions," Osaka said Wednesday. "But I think, like, I guess seeing the state of the world, how everything is in Haiti, how everything is in Afghanistan right now, is definitely really crazy.
"And for me to just be hitting a tennis ball in the United States right now, and have people come and watch me play, is, I don't know. I would want to be myself in this situation rather than anyone else in the world."
Teichmann, who has two career singles titles, reached a peak of No. 40 in the world earlier this year before injuries derailed her season. Her victory over Osaka may catapult her back on the trajectory she was on before the nagging ailments.