The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose had its highest attendance for a day 2 session in over ten years, and the fans who filled the stands were not disappointed. Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff took the wins in their first-round matches.
Capping off the day session, Naomi Osaka defeated Zheng Qinwen 6-4 3-6 6-1. While Osaka was a clear favorite going into the match, the fearless nineteen-year-old from China is not to be underestimated. Osaka smiled her way through the match, her first one since May, having a good time on the court with many personal friends and family in attendance. Speaking with press after her victory, she said Zheng was a tricky opponent and that she expects to have more run-ins with her on tour.
Osaka explained her positive attitude, saying “I’m just here to have a good time and bond with my dad, try to relearn his coaching style.” She added, “he’s been there since I was a kid and he’s the one that knows my game the best and he’s the one that knows what words to say to trigger me into doing better.” One example she shared from his unorthodox approach, is his frequent reminders to her that, “you’re a tennis player, you play tennis.” She was at a loss to explain exactly what he means by that, but the results speak for themselves.
The first night session match saw American Coco Gauff defeating Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina 6-1 6-0. Although the victory was swift, the fans were never bored. Kalinina put up her best fight, but Gauff’s movement and agility covering the court were firing on all cylinders. She told press after, “it was just one of those days where everything was working and I think really against anybody I feel like I would have won today because I feel like everything was in place.”
At the match, Gauff wore her New Balance kit for the US Open Series, which features a shiny metallic skirt. She explained to media, “I wanted to look like a video game character and I feel like maybe I accomplished that. The skirt is actually not that hot and I was worried that the material was going to be.” She confessed that she looked at herself in the instant replays on court and saw that her skirt looked pretty cool, or in her words “that looks pretty fire.”
Osaka and Gauff will face each other in the second round on Thursday night. Osaka leads the head-to-head 2-1 and won their last encounter in three sets at the 2021 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.