Naomi Osaka made a winning start to her American hard-court swing and afterward said she is never lacking confidence when her match goes three sets. On Tuesday, Osaka defeated Zheng Qinwen in three sets 6-4 3-6 6-1 at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.
Osaka was playing her first match in two months as she skipped the entire grass season following an early French Open exit. "I have a lot of confidence in myself in third sets," Osaka said after the win, per the WTA website.
"I'm not sure if it's subconscious or not but I do remember thinking it's going to be hard for her to break me. Because I learned a lot from challenging that last ball in that game that I did get broken. I think that's one thing that I have above her is that I have a lot of experience.
I've definitely played more matches than her, so it's going to be interesting to watch her grow."
Osaka progresses into the San Jose last-16
Zheng had the first break points of the match, but missed out on two break points in the second game.
After saving two break points, Osaka earned the first break of the match in the third game. In the fourth game, Zheng had a chance to break back Osaka, but the Japanese saved a break point to open a 3-1 lead. Zheng didn't have any break points in the rest of the set as Osaka routinely served out for the opener in the 10th game.
After losing the first set, Zheng bounced back in the second as she earned the first break of the set in the eighth game to open a 5-3 lead. In the following game, Zheng served out to win the second set and force a decider.
Osaka bounced back impressively after dropping the second set as she started the third set with back-to-back breaks and a 5-0 lead. In the seventh game, Osaka served out for a three-set victory. Osaka is now set for a very difficult task as she plays next 2022 French Open finalist Cori Gauff.