Naomi Osaka shares how she was left feeling 'embarrassed' after recent practice match

Osaka addresses facing Daria Kasatkina in the Rome third round.

by Dzevad Mesic
Naomi Osaka shares how she was left feeling 'embarrassed' after recent practice match
© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Naomi Osaka says she has nothing but great respect for Daria Kasatkina as the former world No. 1 reveals she was recently "smacked" by the Russian in a Madrid practice match to the point where she felt "embarrassed" and that she maybe should apologize for how bad she was. 

After starting her Rome Open campaign with a 7-6 (2) 6-1 win over Clara Burel, Osaka also ousted No. 19 seed Marta Kostyuk 6-3 6-2 to progress into the third round. And for a place in the Rome round-of-16, Osaka will be playing against world No. 11 Kasatkina. 

Following her win over Kostyuk, Osaka was told by reporters that Kasatkina also defeated Tatjana Maria and that the Russian would be her next opponent. 

Osaka then mistakenly thought that 11th-ranked Kasatkina would be her first top-10 opponent in her post-pregnancy comeback.

"I think she's my first top-10 player I'm playing this year, no? Am I crazy? She's 10, c'mon (laughter)," Osaka said. 

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka © Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Osaka then tells how a recent practice with Kasatkina went

"Yeah, honestly, like, I think I've said this before, but she smacked me in Madrid real bad. It was actually embarrassing. I felt like I had to apologize to her after that practice," Osaka added.

"But I'm going into this match knowing that she has way more experience than me on clay. I feel like I'm still a baby giraffe, like I'm trying to learn my steps. I'm just extremely humble. I want to learn from the match I played today and hopefully apply that.

"I know she's an amazing player. She does really well. She moves really well. Overall I'm just really excited. She's so nice and her brother is really kind, too, so..."

When Osaka and Kasatkina meet in Madrid, it will be their second meeting and also the first one in six years. In their first and lone meeting in 2018 Indian Wells, Osaka earned a 6-3 6-2 win. 

But on clay, Kasatkina is a more experienced player and definitely won't be an easy matchup for Osaka.

Naomi Osaka Daria Kasatkina