's-Hertogenbosch: Naomi Osaka dismantles No. 4 seed in first grass match since 2019

Osaka makes an outstanding start to her 's-Hertogenbosch debut.

by Dzevad Mesic
's-Hertogenbosch: Naomi Osaka dismantles No. 4 seed in first grass match since 2019
© Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka dismantled No. 4 seed Elise Mertens 6-2 6-4 in her 's-Hertogenbosch debut, while No. 1 seed Jessica Pegula kicked off her comeback with a 6-2 6-2 first-round win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

On Tuesday, 26-year-old Osaka was playing her first grass match since 2019 Wimbledon. And it was quite a return to grass courts for Osaka, who needed just an hour and nine minutes to beat a very tricky opponent and set up a round-of-16 meeting against either Bernarda Pera or Suzan Lamens. 

Meanwhile, Pegula took to the court for the first time in exactly two months and everything went well for the top-seeded American, who plays next against Aleksandra Krunic.

How Osaka ousted Mertens? 

Early in the first set, Osaka faced two consecutive break points in the third game but managed to save them. After avoiding going down by an early break, Osaka claimed back-to-back breaks in the sixth and eighth games and finished the first set on a four-game run to seal the opener in an impressive way.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - David Ramos

After the first set ended with Osaka claiming back-to-back breaks, not a single break point was seen through the opening nine games of the second set as the Japanese held a 5-4 lead. 

But then in the 10th game, with Mertens serving to stay in the match, Osaka earned the first break point of the set - which at the same time was a match point, and realized it to seal a two-set win.

How Pegula dismantled Sasnovich?

Through the opening four games, not a single break point was seen as Pegula and Sasnovich were tied to two games apiece. Then, top-seeded Pegula went on to win the next seven games and open a 6-2 3-0 lead.

While Sasnovich managed to serve out the fourth game and end Pegula's run of seven consecutive games, it didn't change much as the American claimed another break in the sixth game to go 5-1 up. 

Serving for the match, a bit surprisingly Pegula dropped her serve for the first time in the match. However, Pegula remained calm and focused and broke Sasnovich again in the eighth game to seal a routine two-set win with just four lost games.

Naomi Osaka