At the end of 2017, Naomi Osaka was only ranked number 68 in the WTA Rankings. After an impressive 2018 the Japanese tennis player finds herself ranked fifth in the world. Could she end 2019 as the world number one?
Her year began with a run to the last sixteen at the Australian Open, losing to current world number one Simona Halep but beating two top 20 ranked players on the way. The following month saw her reach the quarter finals of the Dubai tournament, but she was just weeks away from a massive win.
Breakthrough at Indian Wells
In March, Osaka won the Indian Wells tournament beating Maria Sharapova, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep on the way to winning £1.3m. There wasn’t much success on the clay circuit over the next couple of months. That means she won’t have too many points to defend in 2019, so improvement in that part of the game will boost her ranking.
Osaka reached the semi-finals of the Nottingham Open on grass but had a tough draw at Wimbledon. She lost in straight sets in the last 32 to the eventual winner Angelique Kerber. However, the next Grand Slam tournament was to totally change her career.
US Open Glory
The US Open was to prove her first Grand Slam success as she beat Serena Williams in a bad-tempered final. The behaviour of Williams overshadowed her win, no wonder she was named the most unfairly treated sportsperson of the year.
Her prize money was $3.8m and more followed three weeks later as she lost in the final of the Tokyo Open to Karolina Pliskova. Her level of consistency continued with a run to the semi-finals in Beijing, China.
It’s certainly been a breakthrough year for the Japanese player. If she can continue her form into 2019 and become strong on all surfaces, then the odds of 6/1 on her at 10Bet could well prove profitable.
Steve Ashfield is a freelance writer who has a wide range of experience covering various aspects of the gambling industry. Over the years he has edited professional wrestling magazines, written horse racing tips, and covered news on a variety of different sports. Contact Steve at email@example.com.