‘I felt really nervous,’ said Naomi Osaka after first match since Australian Open
Naomi Osaka admitted she felt nerves and an added weight of expectation in her first match since her Australian Open triumph.
Osaka got off to a slow start but still came through her opening match at the Miami Open in straight sets, defeating Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (3), 6-4 in second-round action.
The victory marked a 22nd consecutive win for the Japanese star, who has not lost a competitive match since 7th February 2020.
Naomi Osaka lost her serve in the first game of the match, though recovered from a 5-3 deficit to take the first set on a tie-break before a more assured second set from the World No 2.
“This is my first match since Australia, so I just really wanted to play well,” said Osaka in her post-match interview.
“I kind of feel like I’m at home here, because I grew up [near here] for most of my life.”
Despite making just 49% of her first serves, the Australian Open champion won 30 of her 37 points behind it and was happy with her serving at pressure moments.
Osaka said: “I think for me, today I served really well when I needed to.
“Unfortunately I got broken a couple of times, but I think when it really, really mattered, I was able to serve well, so I’m happy with that.”
Osaka will hope to extend her unbeaten winning streak in the third round against Yulia Putintseva, which would take the Japanese star past halfway in her bid to equal Martina Navratilova’s record of 45 consecutive wins.
— wta (@WTA) March 26, 2021
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