World No. 24 Veronika Kudermetova arrived to the Indian Wells Masters confident and it showed when she took on former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka on Saturday. Despite being ranked at No. 78 in the world, Osaka entered the match as the favorite but it was Kudermetova that claimed a 6-0 6-4 win.
"I have a little bit more confidence than last year because I think every day I practice really hard and it gives me really more confidence," Kudermetova said. "I already beat a lot of good players this year.
It also gives me a lot of confidence."
Kudermetova wins the first match against Osaka
Osaka and Kudermetova were scheduled to meet earlier this year at the Melbourne Summer Set 1. Back then, Osaka gave Kudermetova a walkover due to precautionary reasons before the Australian Open.
"It's nice to play against great players, against Naomi, because I never play against her," Kudermetova said. "I want to play that match because I want to see what I can improve, what I need to improve.
I play really well today. I hope I will continue to play like that." Osaka, who captured her maiden Masters title in Indian Wells in 2018, was heckled by the fans and she addressed it after the match. "Hi," Osaka said, greeting the crowd.
"I just wanted to say thank you. I feel like I cried enough on camera. To be honest, I've gotten heckled before and it didn't really bother me. But heckled here...I've watched a video of Serena and Venus getting heckled here and if you've never watched it you should watch.
I don't know why but it went into my head and got replayed a lot. I'm trying not to cry but, I just wanted to say thank you and congratulations [Veronika]. Thank you." Meanwhile, Kudermetova plays Marie Bouzkova next.