Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka revealed Madison Brengle was a familiar face to her since she used to watch her on the USTA’s ITF circuit as a teenager. On Wednesday, Osaka saw off Brengle 6-0 6-4 to reach the Australian Open third round.
“I remember when I was younger, I would watch her play in the pro circuit," Osaka recalled, per the WTA website. "She was kind of notorious for getting every ball back. So I just took those memories from back then and tried to tell myself, like, you're probably going to make a lot of unforced errors this match, but it's something you have to do because you can't let her dictate you in this match in the way that she would try to - like, to keep the ball in play”.
Osaka opted for the aggressive approach
Osaka made an outstanding start to the match, breaking Brengle three times to comfortably win the opener. After falling down 4-3 in the second set, Osaka responded with back-to-back breaks to overturn the deficit and escape with a straight-set win.
"For me, I feel like it was really important that even though I made a lot of errors at the net today, I thought it was really important to keep stepping in,” Osaka added. "In that moment [when Osaka dropped serve], of course I was really disappointed with myself, but I also think these are the type of matches that I need to play in Grand Slams - to get broken and to figure out a way to fight back in really crucial times.
"I thought that for me, I rushed a lot in that specific service game, and you could kind of tell I was a bit shaky. I made a double fault where I really shouldn't have made a double fault. But I tried to shake that off in the return game right after, and I think I did pretty well there."