Australian Open: Naomi Osaka survives Camila Osorio scare in title-defence bid

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Australian Open: Naomi Osaka survives Camila Osorio scare in title-defence bid

Defending champion Naomi Osaka reached the second round of the 2022 Australian Open but not before her opponent, Colombia’s Camila Osorio gave her a scare. The 13th-seeded Japanese won in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 in 68 minutes but the match saw her game fluctuate significantly before she stabilised it and herself to push through.

At the start of the match, Osaka looked to be setting up an easy victory as she built a 4-0 lead against her opponent. However, while errors creeped into her game, Osorio’s game perked up on the other side of the net.

The world no. 50, seemingly playing with nothing to lose anymore, played freely and loosely with her shots either finding the line or forcing Osaka to miss while trying to send them back over the net. Within what seemed like no time, Osorio reduced the deficit to 3-5 and even had two break-back points when Osaka served for the set in the ninth game.

However, Osaka saved both before eking out the lead with two good serves, on her first set point. The second set saw Osaka open up play with still some waywardness. Her 20-year-old opponent had two break points to go up 2-0 in the set but Osaka recovered well to stave them off and get herself on the scoreboard.

In the next game, it was Osorio’s turn to blink and she handed the break to Osaka. From that moment on, there was no looking back for the former world no. 1 who secured the win on her first match point on Osorio’s serve in the ninth game of the set.

Osaka had 19 winners, almost four times as many as Osorio’s five and nearly twice as many unforced errors (28) as the Colombian’s 15. The four-time Major champion will face either Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle next.

Australian Open: Camila Giorgi opens winners' count

Camila Giorgi was the first player to reach the second round of the 2022 Australian Open. The Italian, seeded 30th, defeated Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and 12 minutes.

Giorgi saved all four break points she faced while converting all four break points she had on the Russian’s serve. Seventeen winners and 30 unforced errors marked Giorgi’s play while Potapova could manage only three winners and 32 unforced errors.

In the second round, Giorgi faces either Tereza Martincova or Lauren Davis. Meanwhile, Maria Sakkari, Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic were among those who made their way through to the second round in the day session at Melbourne Park.

Sakkari, the fifth seed, encountered a stiff challenge from Tatjana Maria but managed to wrap up the match in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(2) in an hour and 45 minutes. Sakkari next faces Chinese qualifier Qinwen Zheng. Zheng defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(5) in their first-round match.

The 22nd-seeded Bencic overcame Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3 in their opening-round encounter. The Swiss will play Amanda Anisimova for a spot in the third round. The American came from a set down against Dutch qualifier, Arianne Hartono to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 and reach the round-of-64.

Elina Svitolina, the 15th seed, won her first match of the season beating France’s Fiona Ferro, 6-1, 7-6(4) in an hour and 32 minutes. Svitolina who lost in the opening rounds of the Adelaide International 1 and 2, hit 27 winners to Ferro’s 20 and had just 22 unforced errors to her opponent’s 35.

Svitolina’s second-round opponent will be another Frenchwoman in Harmony Tan. Tan ousted Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-3 in their first-round clash at the 2022 Australian Open.