Brisbane: Naomi Osaka wins first match since becoming a mom

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Wilson Blade 9

Playing her first tennis match since becoming a mother, Naomi Osaka marked her return to competition with a hard-fought win on the opening day of the new year at the Brisbane International.

Naomi Osaka

Facing off against Tamara Korpatsch of Germany in the first round, Osaka’s path to victory was laden with tension. Despite initially leading comfortably with a 6-3 advantage, she faced a stumbling block when broken while serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set. However, the four-time Grand Slam champion exhibited her mental fortitude, eventually clinching a 7-6(9) triumph after a grueling tiebreaker that demanded three match points.

Analyzing her performance, Osaka acknowledged areas for improvement while embracing the intensity of competitive matches. “I think maybe some of my decisions weren’t the best. But I think it’s better to have harder matches because it will train me for what’s to come,” she admitted.

“Looking back on the match now, honestly I’m very proud of myself,” Osaka reflected. “I feel like I played at a pretty good level. I think my opponent played really well, as well.”

With her sights set on the next challenge, Osaka is prepared to face three-time Brisbane champion and fellow former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova in the second round. Pliskova leads their head-to-head 3-2. The Czech won their last encounter, en route to the 2020 Brisbane International title, when she saved match points to triumph 6-7(10) 7-6(3) 6-2 in an intense semifinal battle.

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