WTA Miami: Naomi Osaka battles past. Anisimova and Sabalenka bow out


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WTA Miami: Naomi Osaka battles past. Anisimova and Sabalenka bow out

The world no. 1 and the two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka had to work hard to make the winning start in Miami, beating a qualifier Yanina Wickmayer 6-0, 6-7, 6-1 in two hours and nine minutes. The Japanese dominated in sets she won, saving five out of six break points and mastering the scoreboard outside the second set when Wickmayer played on a high level to match Osaka's numbers and set a decider.

The Belgian had to play against 18 break points and give serve away six times, overcoming a 6-0, 3-2 deficit to get back on the positive side of the scoreboard in set number two to win it 7-3 in the tie break. Naomi managed to leave this setback behind her immediately, starting from zero in the final set and crossing the finish line with a double break that pushed her into the third round, avoiding spending more time on the court before the next obstacles.

Aryna Sabalenka made a great start of 2019 with the title in Shenzhen but the results were not that good in the following events besides St. Petersburg, failing to reach the closing stages and fight for more trophies. That hasn't changed in Miami too, losing in the second round to Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 16 minutes.

Sabalenka won their previous two encounters with a bagel in the decider but that wasn't the case today, breaking Ajla twice and dropping half of the return points to give the serve away five times and hit the exit door earlier than she expected.

Tomljanovic was untouchable behind the first serve and she managed to tame the rival's shots and control the pace in the rallies after too many errors from the Belarusian. The Aussie claimed the opening set with three breaks of serve and she was more focused in the closing stages of the second, stealing Sabalenka's serve at 5-4 to march into the third round, happy with the way she performed against the 9th seed.

The 27th seed Su-Wei Hsieh defeated Alison Riske 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 24 minutes, playing better on both the first and second serve while taking half of the points on the return for six breaks from 12 opportunities. Riske fought back from 5-2 down in set number two to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard before Hsieh secured the crucial break in game 12, converting the fourth match point to book the place in the third round.

The 21st seed Anett Kontaveit toppled the young American Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and six minutes after a great battle and 106 points for each player, battling against 29 break points in total! Amanda was off to a better start, earning breaks in games one and three and fending off three break points in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead.

Out of sudden, Kontaveit found the range on both serve and return, delivering three easy holds and breaks in games six and eight to rattle off five games in a row and take the opener 6-3. A teenager fought off all four break points in set number two to mount the pressure on Kontaveit who suffered breaks in games two and six, handing the set to her rival and preparing for a decider.

There, the American forged a 4-2 advantage although it wasn't to be for her, losing the last four games of the encounter to propel Anett into the third round.