Naomi Osaka beat Zarina Diyas 6-4 6-3 to make her winning debut at the China Open. Osaka won the pair’s meeting at this year’s Roland Garros in straight sets but had to fight to repeat herself against the Kazakh whose last Top 10 win came over Petkovic at 2015 Dubai.
Later, Madison Keys had to withdraw prior to the second-round match against Anastasia Sevastova due to a knee injury, the same that also forced her to retire against Angelique Kerber last week in Wuhan. Osaka was under pressure from the beginning, with three of the first four games extending to deuce.
“I felt like today was pretty rough. I know I didn’t play that well, but I really wanted to win. I felt that she (Diyas) probably didn’t play at her best, too,” Osaka said. “I think we were both just trying to struggle with how to, like, manage the situation.” The first set continued on serve for the first eight games, before the Japanese clinched a decisive break.
Osaka, who withdrew from last week’s Wuhan Open in China, hours after losing to former world number one Karolina Pliskova in the Pan Pacific Open final in Tokyo, took control of the match and sealed her first main draw win in Beijing as she fell at the first round last year (l.
Kerber). Faces No.92 Diyas today; she also avoided her worst-by-rank in a completed match this season. Excluding the retirement after the first set against No.113 Jakupovic at Birmingham, in fact, Osaka has fallen to a player ranked outside the Top 50 only once in 2018 (l.
No.62 Linette at Washington DC). The sole Japanese player competing this week at Beijing, she has posted impressive numbers on serve in 2018, firing 243 aces and winning 77.4% of her service games. “I was lucky Tokyo was so close (to the U.S.
Open) because I could immediately focus on the next tournament,” Osaka added. “I didn’t think too much about what was going on... so maybe if I did have that time, I’d be overwhelmed... I’m still trying to take my mind off of it.” World number six Osaka is on track to qualify for the WTA’s season-ending tournament in Singapore this month.
“I’m really focussed on playing the Asian swing,” she said “For me the biggest goal is trying to get into Singapore.” They also asked her again about the Us Open final. “The memory of the U.S.
Open is a little bittersweet,” Osaka said. “The day after, I didn’t want to think about it because it wasn’t necessarily the happiest memory for me. I wanted to move on at that point. “When you bite into it, it’s sweet but also strong.
That’s how that memory feels... of course, I’m happy I won a Grand Slam. I don’t think there’s anything that can take away from that. But I don’t know. I feel like not that when I look back on it that it’s a bad memory, but it was so strange, I didn’t want to think about it.
I wanted to push it to the side.” She will meet for the first time Danielle Collins. Making the fourth main draw appearance at China Open. Sevastova reached the quarterfinals on her debut in 2010 (l. Li Na). The Latvian defeated Cornet in the first round on Sunday to level her win-loss record at Beijing to 3-3. In the round 16 she will face Donna Vekic.