Naomi Osaka battled past Maria Sakkari in her first match of the 2020 season, 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3, at the Brisbane International. The World No. 4 was conscious it wouldn’t have been easy against the Greek: "I knew going into it that it was going to be a really hard match," she said during her on-court interview.
"I think in the second set, I was just complaining a lot in the tie-breaker. I was just trying to calm down and stay positive."
The Japanese star, who had already prevailed against Sakkari in two of their three past encounters, stroke 16 aces to win the match that lasted two hours and seven minutes.
"I think I got off to a better start and was able to apply the things I wanted to," Osaka said in the press conference.
"In the second set, she knew what to expect, so she wasn't fazed by how hard I was hitting.
She got more used to it and more comfortable, so it was a bit harder to win the points as easily as I did in the first set. In the third set, I think I just wasn't as tired because she was the one that was moving more than me," the 22-year-old concluded.
The two-time Grand Slam champion, who has recently started working with Wim Fissette—former coach of Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber, and Kim Clijsters—will next face the American Sofia Kenin.