Qinwen Zheng wins easily over Naomi Osaka (and her former coach) at the Italian Open

Zheng beats her former coach Wim Fissette while potentially setting up another interesting coaching carousel matchup in the quarterfinals.
Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Qinwen Zheng showed the world in the Italian Open Round of 16 that she is much more than just the 2024 Australian Open finalist. She has an all-court game that looked exceptional on Monday on the Roman red clay.

She defeated four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets in just over 90 minutes. Osaka has been embracing the red clay, but the bread and butter of her tennis success have been on the hardcourts. Osaka managed to win only six games against Zheng; the final score was 6-2, 6-4.

It was still surprising to see Zheng execute as fans expected Osaka would. Good serving, solid shotmaking, and outstanding footwork were the cornerstones of her game. Osaka accomplished career firsts in Rome and has to be encouraged by her overall performance on the clay leading into the 2024 French Open and the 2024 Paris Olympics. Both will be played at Roland Garros.

Qinwen Zheng's win sets up the possiblity of an interesting quarterfinal

Zheng advances to the quarterfinals and awaits the winner of the Round of 16 match between Coco Gauff and Paula Badosa.

A matchup against Coco Gauff could prove intriguing because it would be the first time Gauff would face her former coach. Zheng is coached by Pere Riba who was part of Gauff's coaching team last summer when she played the best tennis of her career. Gauff will have her work cut out for her because Badosa has been playing inspired and top-notch tennis in Rome as she tries to get her career back on track after dealing with a year of injuries including a back issue that forced her to start and stop playing several times in 2023.

Speaking of coaches, Zheng's win over Osaka had to be extra satsifying because Zheng was meeting her former coach Wim Fissette who left her team late last year to join Osaka in her comeback.

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