NEW YORK – Julia Glushko’s successful two-week US Open run came to an abrupt end before a packed crowd late Thursday morning on Court 17.
Despite staying on serve for the first five games of the first set, the hard-hitting Naomi Osaka of Japan sent Israel’s Glushko packing in 50 minutes, 6-2, 6-0.
The aggressive Japanese baseliner, who also has a powerful serve, seemed to wear down the injured Glushko on another very hot New York day, in which the US Open issued a statement on extreme heat, permitting men’s and women’s players to request a 10-minute break between the second and third sets.
Glushko, who sustained a bruised left knee during her first-round victory over Romanian Monica Niculescu, played with the knee fully taped and appeared to have difficulties covering the court.
Osaka and Glushko held serves through the first five games of the match. Osaka broke Glushko in the sixth game and closed out the first set in 26 minutes. Osaka hit 10 winners to Glushko’s two in the first set
Osaka’s powerful serve, averaging 109 miles per hour compared to Glushko’s 97 mph, and her consistent shots from the baseline, proved no match for the tired Glushko.
“I was solid with serves and returns,” reported No, 20 Osaka in a post-match on court interview.
Glushko agreed: “Naomi is such a good player, a very powerful girl, she covers the court well, she serves extremely well – she is a tough player to play.”
Osaka won 28 baseline points to Glushko’s 15, and 54 overall match points to Glushko’s 32. Osaka is working hard to break into the top 10; she reached a high of No. 18 in June.
Glushko, who reached the main draw after winning three straight matches in last week’s qualifying draw, was one of seven qualifiers (out of 16) to advance to the second round, but she had a tough two days in the main draw.
“I had a difficult 48 hours and didn’t practice at all. It was an emotionally unstable 48 hours. I got an MRI at the hospital and have a bruise on my bone which has to heal on its own. When I was cleared to play, I worked with the physiotherapists who did an amazing job – there was lots of tape on my leg. During the match, it was super tough to focus and my body didn’t let me run and my brain stopped me all the time.”
Glushko, 29, will likely return to Israel in a few days to meet her doctors and continue her recovery. She will then decide if she will play in her scheduled four tournament s in five weeks in Asia.
Glushko’s run, which ended her five-match run in both the qualifier and the main draw, has served to mask Israel’s minimal presence at this year’s US Open. For years, names like Pe’er and Sela in the main singles draws, Ram and Erlich in the doubles draw, and more than a few juniors in both the male and female draws were givens.
With Sela injured and Erlich and doubles partner Aisa-ul-Hag Quereshi eliminated in straight sets in doubles action on Tuesday, Glushko was Israel’s last hope in this year’s tournament.