Rome: Naomi Osaka fends off resilient opponent, to meet No. 19 seed in 2R

Osaka has made a winning start to her first Rome campaign since 2021.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Rome: Naomi Osaka fends off resilient opponent, to meet No. 19 seed in 2R
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Naomi Osaka has made a good start in her Rome return as the former world No. 1 ousted Clara Burel 7-6 (2) 6-1 to reach the second round at Foro Italico. 

On Wednesday, 26-year-old Osaka played in Rome for the first time since 2021. And it was a successful return for Osaka, who managed to fend off 45th-ranked Burel after the Frenchwoman put up some big fight before losing a tight first set. 

In her next match, Osaka will take on No. 19 seed Marta Kostyuk, who had a first-round bye. When Osaka and Kostyuk meet in Rome, it will be the second time that they are squaring off against each other as the Japanese beat the Ukrainian in their first meeting at the 2020 US Open.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Burel fought hard but Osaka found a way to break the Frenchwoman's game

Through the opening five games of the match, both Osaka and Burel firmly held on to their serves as not a single break point was seen. In the sixth game, Osaka finally clinched the first break point but failed to realize as another game went server's way. 

After failing to break Burel in the sixth game, Osaka managed to do so in the eighth game and open a 5-3 lead. Serving for the first set, Osaka had a set point on her serve - and just when it seemed the opener would soon be over - Burel managed to save the set point and ultimately break back the Japanese.

As no more breaks were seen  - the first set then went into a tie-break - where Osaka was 1-2 down before impressively winning the next six points to win a tight opener.

After losing the last six points of the first-set tie-break, Burel started the second set by serving out her opening service game to love. That was all from Burel as Osaka then went on to win the next six games and complete a two-set win in an impressive way. 

Naomi Osaka
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