Naomi Osaka learns opponent for her first grass match since 2019 Wimbledon

Osaka set to start her grass comeback in 's-Hertogenbosch.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Naomi Osaka learns opponent for her first grass match since 2019 Wimbledon
© Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

Naomi Osaka has learned her first-round opponent in 's-Hertogenbosch as the four-time Grand Slam champion will be playing against Elise Mertens in her first grass match since 2019.

Osaka, who is still ranked outside the top-100 after launching her post-pregnancy comeback earlier this year, recently accepted a main draw wildcard into a WTA 250 tournament in 's-Hertogenbosch. 

By doing so, Osaka confirmed that she was planning to play her first grass tournament since 2019 Wimbledon in the opening week of this year's grass season. 

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - David Ramos
 

Now, Osaka also knows the name of her opening opponent in 's-Hertogenbosch as she and Mertens are set to meet for the sixth time. Three months ago, Mertens defeated Osaka 7-5 6-4 in Indian Wells but the Japanese former world No. 1 still leads their head-to-head 3-2.

Osaka keeps her grass season promise 

Before launching her post-pregnancy comeback, Osaka said that one of her goals for the second chapter of her career was to improve on clay and grass season. When making that revelation, Osaka said she was planning to play a lot more on clay and grass this year compared to previous years.

And during this year's clay season, Osaka kept her word and appeared in a total of four clay tournaments. Now, Osaka is also scheduled to play in at least three grass season tournaments - 's-Hertogenbosch, Berlin and Wimbledon. 

For this year's grass season, Osaka would like to make one really strong result. 

"I would hope that I do really well on one of the clay court tournaments and also grass," Osaka said in April.

"Honestly, I feel like I've improved every match so I think that is possible for me."

During the clay season, Osaka's best result came in Rome, where she made the round-of-16. At Roland Garros, Osaka was inches away from upsetting Iga Swiatek in the second round but missed out on a match point and a 5-2 third-set lead versus the Pole, who ended up winning the title. 

It remains to be seen if Osaka can start her grass comeback with a win over Mertens.

Naomi Osaka Wimbledon
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