Miami Open: Osaka has the measure of Serena

Naomi Osaka of Japan serves to Serena Williams during the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 21, 2018 in Key Biscayne, Florida.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka defeated 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2 in the Miami Open first round on Wednesday, the latest big win for the emerging 20-year-old Japanese.

The pair was on serve in the first set of their first career meeting until Osaka forced break point chances at 3-3 and Serena was unable to deal with a blistering backhand at her feet. The World No. 22 broke Serena again after a back-and-forth deuce battle to take the first set.

Osaka’s powerful serving and relentless return game were even stronger in the second and she broke the eight-times champion to go 3-1 up and was never threatened again.

The 36-year-old Serena, playing her fourth match since the birth of her first child in September, is still working her way into form and although demonstrating her trademark power, she struggled to move smoothly around the court.

Osaka’s win over Williams was her latest victory over some of the biggest names in the sport. She defeated former Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, fifth seed Karolina Pliskova and World No.1 Simona Halep in Indian Wells.

Three-time champion Victoria Azarenka, in just her second tournament since taking an eight-month break to focus on a custody battle, showed good form in beating American Catherine Bellis 6-3, 6-0.

Important results (first round):Men: Matthew Ebden bt Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-5; Robin Haase bt Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 3-6, 6-1; Benoit Paire bt Mischa Zverev 1-6, 6-1, 6-2; Vasek Pospisil bt Ivo Karlovic 7-6(4), 7-6(5); Jared Donaldson bt Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-4; Mikhail Youzhny bt Guido Pella 7-6(3), 7-6(2).

Women: Garbine Muguruza w/o Amanda Anisimova; Naomi Osaka bt Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2; Victoria Azarenka bt Catherine Bellis 6-3, 6-0; Alize Cornet bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2, 7-5; Alison Riske bt Magda Linette 1-6, 6-0, 6-2.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 6:42:22 AM |

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