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Three years away, Osaka faces Gemilang at the Italian Open

Naomi Osaka performed brilliantly to mark her return to the Italian Open for the first time since 2021 with a straight-set victory over Clara Burel in the first round on Wednesday, May 8, local time.

Former world number one Osaka beat her 45th-ranked opponent from France by a score of 7-6 (7/2), 6-1.

Quoted from ANTARA, Thursday, May 9, It was the 26-year-old’s first win against the top 50 on clay since beating Victoria Azarenka at the 2019 French Open.

Osaka, now ranked 173rd in the world after taking a break from the tour to give birth to her first child, will face 19th seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine to fight for a spot in the third half.

Kostyuk, second on the clay court in Stuttgart last month, lost to Osaka in their only previous meeting, in three sets at the 2020 US Open.

Osaka secured a first-half victory over Rome in 84 minutes, finishing with 27 winners, including eight aces, and breaking serve four times.

“I find the first set very difficult. I am very happy that I can finish it in two sets,” Osaka said after her second victory on the European clay court this season.

“Overall I think I’m trying to stay as mentally strong as I can, so I’m really happy with that.”

“I was up 5-3, served for the set and lost (the match). But being able to defend and ultimately finish the way I wanted was something I was very proud of,” said the Japanese tennis star.

“I definitely played much better in the second set. I hope that when I play my match tomorrow, I want to learn from the mistakes I made today.”

Tag: tennis italian open