The world no. 1 and defending Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka has advanced into the fourth round after a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over the Australian Open semi-finalist Danielle Collins in an hour and 22 minutes. In Beijing last year, Osaka lost just one game against the American and she was the player to beat today as well, dropping only 15 points on serve and controlling the scoreboard with the strong performance on the return that earned four breaks from nine chances.
Naomi finished the encounter with 29 winners and 21 unforced errors, far more impressive than Danielle's 11-22 ratio that wasn't enough for a more favorable result or to defend her from sharp and aggressive groundstrokes from the other side of the net.
The Japanese scored the first break in the third game with a forehand winner although she stayed ahead only for a couple of minutes since Collins pulled the break back in game four to level the score at 2-2. Danielle defended three break chances in the following game to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard before wasting a 40-15 lead at 4-4 that secured a crucial break for Naomi after a couple of beautiful winners.
The two-time Grand Slam champion secured the opener with a forehand down the line winner in game ten, gaining the momentum and mounting the pressure on her opponent before the rest of the clash. Danielle managed to win just six points on the return in set number two and she was nowhere near those numbers behind the initial shot, spraying a backhand error to lose serve at love in game three.
Serving at 1-3, the American squandered some five game points before Osaka broke her for the second time following a forehand mistake from Collins who saved a match point in game seven to reduce the deficit and at least prolong the match.
Nonetheless, it was all over when Naomi held at 15 and sealed the deal with a backhand winner at 5-3 to set the mouthwatering clash against Belinda Bencic in the last 16. "Yeah, I think in the first set I was just flat-footed.
I didn't feel like I was moving well at all. I don't remember the specific.. what was the first set? 6-4? Well, it was like her last service game, so I guess it was 4-4. Then I just tried to hype myself up. From there, I just..
I don't know. From there I felt like I did do better. My mindset was to keep trying to get my feet moving and stay pumped up and positive. I'm naturally aggressive on the return, and at the same time, I know Danielle is an aggressive player, too, I don't necessarily want to give her a softball right off her serve and then she can just hit a winner off of it.
I think it's a little bit half and half. I mean, recently Jay was telling me not to, like, swing so much on the second serve return. Because he tells me that my.. it's more on my forehand side, but it's a little bit too..
the take back is too big. I have been working on that, and I think it's getting better. So I guess that's good advice that I got recently. Yeah, I mean, I remember I most recently played Belinda at Hopman Cup. I lost that match.
Yeah, I think that's amazing, the things that she's done and the fact that she was able to come back from her injury and still play at a top level. I know we both want to win this next match, we are both looking forward to it.
Because we are the same age, I know that people are going to hype this match up so it should be fun. I think the last time I played against her, I hit too many unforced errors. But that was in the beginning of 2018 when you guys didn't know who I was (smiling).
So, yeah, I think that was the biggest thing for me. I remember I didn't eat that entire day back in 2013 when I played my first match against Belinda. I just went onto the court and decided to hit everything, and luckily it went in, and I think that's how I won, to be honest.
She was just, like, shocked, I think, because we were around the same age, but I didn't play juniors, so nobody knew who I was. Yeah, she was, like, a really big junior star. She still is a star. That's how I tell that story.
I love this tournament. I think that some people say it's kind of slow, but for me, I feel like it's kind of perfect for the way that I like to play. I feel used to the stadium, because I played the finals last year, and I have been fortunate enough to play twice already.
So, yeah, I think that helps a lot. And also, I am a hard court player. It's not a secret. So I think that's also a very good advantage. I was going to say, the difference between me and Mr. Top 10 (Stefanos Tsitdipas) is I didn't play as many tournaments as him.
Like, I think after the Australian Open, he played a ridiculously huge amount of tournaments, and he did well in all of them. So that might have been a problem. Because for me, I like to focus on, you know, the main tournaments.
I am not saying that, like, all tournaments aren't important, but, like, Grand Slams and Indian Wells and Miami, of course, are, like, one of the biggest. Yeah, I think, like, scheduling is really important. Like, having a goal. I like to have fun now and practice what I'm practicing during.. apply what I'm practicing in matches."