Naomi Osaka on course to meet Elina Svitolina in early Miami showdown

Osaka and Svitolina could highlight early action in Miami.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Naomi Osaka on course to meet Elina Svitolina in early Miami showdown
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Naomi Osaka is set for a favorable Miami first-round matchup but she will be facing a very difficult test in the name of Elina Svitolina if she makes it to the second round. 

Osaka, the 2022 Miami runner-up, is set to return to the tournament this year after missing it last year due to pregnancy. 

On Sunday, the Miami main draw was released and former world No. 1 Osaka learned that she would be starting against 51st-ranked Elisabetta Cocciaretto. When Osaka, 26, and 23-year-old Cocciaretto meet, it will be the first time that they are playing against each other. 

While Cocciaretto won a WTA 125 tournament in Charleston last week, all of her main-level tournaments in 2024 ended in the opening two rounds. With that being said, Cocciaretto is definitely a favorable opening matchup for Osaka. 

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Michael Owens
 

Osaka could face Svitolina in a Miami second-round showdown

If Osaka makes it past Cocciaretto, she will be facing No. 15 seed and 2023 Wimbledon semifinalist Svitolina in the second round. Considering that both Osaka and Svitolina are star names and that they are playing again after post-pregnancy comebacks, there is no doubt that their matchup would bring lots of attention and interest. If that matchup happens, it will be the seventh between the two and their first one since Osaka won their 2019 Australian Open meeting to tie the head-to-head between them to 3-3.

Before coming to Miami, Osaka crushed Sara Errani and defeated world No. 15 Liudmila Samsonova before losing to Elise Mertens in the Indian Wells third round. After concluding her Indian Wells run, Osaka said she was noticing signs of improvement in her game. 

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Michael Reaves
 

"Yeah, I mean, I definitely feel like there's improvement. The match I played before this one, I guess I beat the highest-ranked person I've played so far, so I'm happy about that," Osaka said after her Indian Wells third-round loss.

"But I'm just trying not to be too hard on myself right now, but I feel like in some ways I improved a lot from Doha."

Naomi Osaka Elina Svitolina
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