Fourth seed Naomi Osaka of Japan rose to the challenge in her first match since the COVID-19 layoff and overcame the always-tricky Czech Karolina Muchova 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 to advance to the third round of the Western & Southern Open.
The former world No.1 didn’t get an opportunity to slowly adjust to competition, as she faced a really tough opponent already in her opening match. After narrowly losing the first set, Osaka established early leads in both the second and third sets and held on to them by never having her serve broken during the battle that lasted two hours and 33 minutes.
When it comes to winner-to-unforced-errors differential, Osaka and Muchova were almost equal, +1 to 0 in favor of the two-time Grand Slam champion.
Muchova may have been an unwelcome opponent so early in the tournament, but now that Osaka has passed the big test, we can say that the Czech world No.26 was an excellent opponent for properly kicking off her preparation for the US Open.
In the post-match interview, the tenth-ranked Osaka said that she did use the extra time during the forced off-season to work on some elements of her game and that we’ll hopefully see the results in the coming weeks. Moreover, Osaka revealed that she was very nervous in today’s match, especially in the beginning, but she was glad that she managed to use her opportunities. (photo: Jimmie48)