Earlier in the week, Osaka said clay was quickly becoming her second favorite surface behind hardcourts.
“I think I got more wins this year than I have the entire season last year so that is definitely a good thing,” Osaka said earlier in the week. She is now 5-1 on clay this season compared to going 5-4 over the entire season last year.
“For me, I just wanted to grow comfortable on clay and I think I have. So it is looking good for the French. And honestly all I want to do is have fun and I think I’m capturing that spirit again.”
Things were a little less for Osaka against Bencic. A win would not only give her some much-desired revenge for her loss at Indian Wells, but it would secure the No.1 ranking, which is now under threat by No.3 Simona Halep. Into the semifinals to play Bencic, the Romanian can now overtake Osaka if she wins her third Madrid title. If Halep falls short, Osaka will remain at No.1.
Osaka admits she couldn’t keep her thoughts from swirling as the match got tighter in the final games.
“In the first set I was just really focused and positive, and then in the second set, I just kept thinking about all the mistakes I was making,” Osaka said. “And in the third set I tried to replicate what I was doing in the first set and it was working for a bit and then I started dwelling on my mistakes again.”
“Today was different from normal because when I made the mistake, all I could think about was how important the point was and how could I let myself make such a mistake. Normally, I just go to the next point and try to learn from what I did wrong in the point that I missed.