The US Open took place in early September behind closed doors, but it was not a happy event for one Italian player.
Camila Giorgi is the top-ranked Italian female on the tour, but she crashed out in the second round to number four seed and former World Number One Naomi Osaka in straight sets. The comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory meant there would be no beating her previous best placing of fourth at Flushing Meadows, achieved in 2013.
The 2018 Wimbledon quarter-finalist had been in fine form heading into the tournament, and registered a sound first round with against Alison van Uytvanck, coming back from losing the first set 2-6, but taking the next two 6-1 and 7-5 to progress. A known big-hitter, Giorgi had looked great in tournaments prior to the Open, reaching the last 16 in Prague and the semi-finals in Palermo.
That did not transfer to the hard court against Osaka though, who was comfortable throughout their second-round tie. Osaka is still recovering from a hamstring injury, but the current World number nine brushed aside the 28-year-old in what is traditionally the final tournament of the season.
The game swung in Osaka’s favour long before Giorgi had a chance to pull out a big hit, as she opened up a 5-0 lead. After tying up the first set, Giorgi found a foothold in the game, but when Osaka broke serve to take the game to 4-2 the end was clearly in sight. The unseeded Giorgi kept battling, taking the final set to breakpoint, but she was unable to claw her way back into a one-sided affair in an unusual Grand Slam setting.
Matches at Flushing Meadows have had an eerie atmosphere to them, with spectators not allowed into games under current restrictions. That has meant usually packed courts have echoed with little more than the sound of the players throughout. A Bwin article discussing the world’s major tennis tournaments, details that the Open usually attracts around 800,000 fans, but this year only players and coaches have been in the stands. Indeed, Andy Murray commented that his first-round men singles victory against Yoshihito Nishioka was made harder by the presence of top stars in the stands watching on.
Giorgi will not have to concern herself with the atmosphere in New York, but a quick turnaround in Grand Slam tournaments means there is still chance to end the season on a high. The French Open takes place at the end of September and the Macerata-born player will be hoping she can better her best finish there. She reached the third round in 2018, beating Grace Min and Mariana Duque Marino in straight sets. The run ended against eventual finalist Sloane Stephens.
The fractured season has seen some of the fringe players impress and Giorgi will also be hoping to pick herself up for the BNL Roma tournament, which usually takes place in May. This year, due to the earlier cancellation, it is scheduled between the US Open and the French Open and will offer Giorgi a chance to quickly pick up any momentum she might have lost after Osaka’s victory.