Naomi Osaka The Real Deal…
Naomi Osaka is the future. Best to get to know her now. 💡
Naomi, 20-years-old from Japan, is into her first Grand Slam final this afternoon against Serena Williams. I am realllyyyy looking forward to this one. Noami plays a fun, aggressive brand of tennis that is really enjoyable to watch.
How Naomi Osaka Made the US Open Final
There is a good chance you don’t know a lot about Naomi’s powerful game, so let’s get you caught up to speed… 🗽🎯😀.
Here’s her pathway to the 2018 US Open final.
- Rd 1 def Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-2
- Rd 2 def Julia Glushko 6-2, 6-0
- Rd 3 def Allaksandra Sasnovich 6-0, 6-0
- Rd 4 def Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
- Qtrs def Lesla Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1
- Semi def Madison Keys 6-2, 6-4
Let’s explore 10 aspects of Naomi’s game to better understand how she got to the final, and how she can win her first Grand Slam title.
1. Own The Baseline
Naomi has played 392 points at the US Open where she has ended the point standing at the baseline. She has won 214. That means she has won 54.5% of her baseline points, which ties her for 2nd best out of 128 players in the main draw.
Baseline Points Won
- Naomi = 54.4% (214/392)
- Serena = 53.3% (184/345)
Naomi will absolutely be able to hold her own against Serena from the back of the court once points mature past serves and returns.
2. 1st Serve Percentage
Can you make too many 1st serves? Oh, yes you can! Consider the four leaders in this category at the 2018 US Open. They all lost their match.
1st Serves In – Leaderboard
- 85% – Monica Niculescu. Lost 1st Rd.
- 76% – Evgenlya Rodina. Lost 1st Rd.
- 75% – Yulia Putintseva. Lost 1st Rd.
- 73% – Caroline Dolehide. Lost 1st Rd.
The tournament average for 1st serves in is 62% for the women (and 59% for the men). So where are Naomi and Serena at?
- Naomi = 61.2% (210/343)
- Serena = 60.9% (214/351)
If you make around 70% of your first serves, it’s not really a first serve. It’s much more like another 2nd serve, as you have to take off power to make that many. Making 50% of 1st serves is not that great either. Not enough in the court to hurt the opponent. The sweetspot is right at 60%. That’s exactly where the tournament average is, and exactly where you will find Naomi & Serena.
3. 2nd Serve Points Won
Naomi has won a staggering 59.3% (79/133) of her second serve points, which places her second best for the entire tournament.
2nd Serve Points Won
- Tournament Average = 45%
- No 2 Naomi = 59%
- No 21 Serena = 51%
This is one of the most important battles to win in a match, and Naomi is absolutely crushing this statistical area.
4. Break Points Saved
Naomi may only be 20-years-old, but her mental toughness really shines in this high-pressure area. She leads the entire field of 128 players with Break Points Saved.
Break Points Saved
- Tournament Average = 55%
- No. 1 Naomi = 85.7% (24/28)
- No 6 Serena = 73.9% (17/23)
When push comes to shove in the the women’s final this afternoon, saving break points will be the bullseye of who will be holding the bigger trophy at the end of the match.
5. Service Games Won
This is a critical stat where you find both ladies lined up in pole position – No. 1 and No. 2.
Service Games Won
- Tournament Average = 55%
- No 1 Naomi = 92.1% (47/51)
- No 2 Serena = 89.0% (49/55)
In many ways, tennis boils down to holding serve and breaking serve. Both ladies have done a magnificent job of taking care of their own serve, which probably means that the score line in the sets this afternoon will be close and deep – much more likely to be 6-4 or 7-5 than 6-1 or 6-2.
6. Rally Length
Both Naomi and Serena crush the ball first, and ask questions later. Their whole game is predictated on destroying their opponent with the first two times they touch the ball – which is the 0-4 shot rally length. Consider this… COMBINED, Naomi and Serena have won 208 more points than their opponents in the 0-4 rally length. In the long rallies of 9+ shots, their combined advantage is just FIVE shots.
Which begs the question… what should be be focusing on in practice? Mining the 208 point advantage, or the five shot advantage? I think you know the answer… 🎯
- Naomi = 282 won / 181 lost = +101
- Serena = 312 won / 205 lost = +107
- Naomi = 75 won / 62 lost = +13
- Serena = 80 won / 55 lost = +25
- Naomi = 31 won / 23 lost = +8
- Serena = 19 won / 22 lost = -3
Rally Length = Percentage Break Down
- 0-4 Shots = 71% (463)
- 5-8 Shots = 21% (137)
- 9+ Shots = 8% (54)
- 0-4 Shots = 75% (517)
- 5-8 Shots = 19% (135)
- 9+ Shots = 6% (41)
Pay close attention to who gets the upper hand in the short rallies this afternoon. That player will win the match.
7. Return Games Won
Both Naomi and Serena have won more of their opponents service games than the server has. That’s pretty remarkable!
Return Games Won
- Tournament Average = 35%
- T5 Naomi = 52.9% (27/51)
- T5 Serena = 52.9% (27/51)
Neither player has faced such a good server in their run to the final, so this number will surely drop this afternoon.
8. Groundstroke Winners / Errors
Naomi has big weapons from the back of the court, with 29 forehand winners and 22 backhand winners coming into the final. But let’s not forget that errors always out number winners!
- Winners = 29 (24%)
- Errors = 91 (76%)
- Total = 120
- Winners = 22 (22%)
- Errors = 79 (79%)
- Total = 101
These numbers may initially look bad, but they are not. We play a sport of errors.
2018 Us Open Tournament Totals – To The Final
- Winners = 35% (6244/17706)
- Errors = 65% (11462/17706)
Forcing errors is the No. 1 way to win a point in our sport. Naomi can definitely make Serena uncomfortable on the other side of the net today.
9. Serve Speed
Naomi can crack a serve. She can definitely drop heat with the best of them. Here are the tournament leaders for the women.
- 121mph – Serena
- 120mph – Coco Vandeweghe
- 120mph – Venus
- 119mph – Naomi
Naomi’s fastest 1st serve of 119mph was faster than David Ferrer’s fastest of 117mph. Just sayin…
10. Average Rally Length
In Naomi’s first six matches at the 2018 US Open, her average rally length is 3.5 shots. That’s a serve in the court, then a return, then one more shot from the serve… and that’s it. We remember the long rallies, but tennis is won and lost with the short ones much more.
Average Rally Length By Round
- Rd 1 def Laura Siegemund = 3.21 shots
- Rd 2 def Julia Glushko = 2.86 shots
- Rd 3 def Allaksandra Sasnovich = 3.91 shots
- Rd 4 def Aryna Sabalenka = 3.44 shots
- Qtrs def Lesla Tsurenko = 3.69 shots
- Semi def Madison Keys = 3.90 shots
Don’t expect a lot of long rallies this afternoon against Serena. You will be able to count on one hand the number of rallies that reach double digits.