Siniakova ends Osaka's streak

 - Alex Sharp

Top seed Naomi Osaka falls in straight sets in the third round to Katerina Siniakova

Naomi Osaka Katerina Siniakova Roland Garros 2019 third round©Julien Crosnier / FFT

The top-ranked doubles player has outmanoeuvred the top-ranked singles player.

Naomi Osaka’s pursuit of a third successive Grand Slam title is over after Katerina Siniakova soared to a 6-4, 6-2 victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

“I felt the chance, because her first and second round was tough, so I could see that she's not so confident like she was,” stated Siniakova following the ruthless third-round display. "So, I just try to focus on my game and be ready for big fight. But, yeah, I felt a chance.”

For the Czech, it is a case of pure jubilation. Last year the 23-year-old fell at this hurdle in singles, before triumphing in the Roland-Garros women’s doubles final. Now, she’s broken new ground for a debut in a Grand Slam singles second week.

“It's tough to say if it's the best performance from me, but it's the best result so far. I'm so happy about it, and I think I can say I feel confident with my game now,” continued the victorious Czech. “Hopefully it's not the end and I can show some best tennis in the other round.”

Ever since losing the first set 6-0 to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in her opening match, Roland-Garros has a been a turbulent tussle for top seed Osaka.

"It would go from 1 to 10 and I'm like at a 100 right now,” admitted Osaka, describing her levels of disappointment.

The Japanese star knew this time she had to start well. Serving first Osaka was stepping in and trying to be the frontrunner, but the radar was well off course. 

On the other side of the net, Siniakova, ranked No.42 in singles, was providing a defensive masterclass.

Osaka saw three break chances vanish as Siniakova withstood the early pressure to take control of proceedings. The top seed fended off a brace of break points at 4-4 with two cannonball forehands, but a flurry of errors unravelled that work.

Siniakova slipped to 0-40 serving for the set, before dinking a deft drop shot over as the catalyst to head to the changeover halfway to claiming a maiden fourth round at a major.

“I was trying to keep her behind the baseline as much as possible and trying to just put so many balls in and just don't give her easy points,” reflected the 23-year-old Siniakova.

“I think it was one shot I could use against her, and it was brave, but I believe in my dropshot. I think it's really good. Actually, it was tough to finish the set, and I was really happy I fight back and I finish it.”

Katerina SIniakova - Roland-Garros 2019 - 3e tour©Julien Crosnier / FFT

It was the third match in a row that Osaka trailed by a set and a break, but this time the grit and explosive shot making that had helped accumulate 16 straight Grand Slam match wins were left wanting.

At 2-3 down, Osaka earned deuce to push back into contention. Having constructed a well-crafted point, the 21-year-old clipped the net on a simple backhand approach. Her head flung back, staring at the bright blue sky in disbelief as the hopes of a comeback disintegrated.

A 38th unforced error told the tale as Siniakova spun around to celebrate in front of her team, booking a fourth-round ticket facing 14th seed Madison Keys - a semi-finalist in Paris last year.

Osaka was attempting to become the first player since Serena Williams in 2015 to win three straight Grand Slam tournaments. And the first-ever to win a third major, right after winning her first two.

Results-wise, it has been the top seed's most fruitful clay-court campaign, but the 21-year-old has felt the burden of having No.1 next to her name.

“I just feel like there has been a weight on me, kind of. I know that's because everything is, like, sort of new. I have played Roland-Garros before but not in this circumstance or situation,” revealed Osaka, determined to learn from placing too much pressure on herself.

“It's weird, but I think me losing is probably the best thing that could have happened. I think I was overthinking this, like, calendar slam. For me this is something that I have wanted to do forever, but I think I have to think about it like if it was that easy, everyone would have done it.

“I just have to keep training hard and put myself in a position again to do it hopefully. But for now, like, peacing out of this tournament, I'm going home, like, Bye, I'm sorry, I'm not gonna miss you guys," she adds with a laugh.