Miami Open: Noami Osaka destroys Angelique Kerber to gain momentum

WTA Tour
Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka has pushed through to the third round of the Miami Open with a straight sets victory over former World No 1 Angelique Kerber.

Osaka took exactly one hour to despatch Kerber 6-2, 6-3 and moves on to face Karolina Muchova in round three.

Kerber held a 4-1 career head-to-head advantage over Osaka heading into the match, but the Japanese No 1 threw it back to their first meeting which she won comfortably.

Muchova had scored an upset victory over US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.

Osaka took control of the match early and did not look back.

Kerber dropped her serve in just the second game allowing Osaka to quickly wrap up the first set.

Osaka broke her again at 5-2, converting her second set point when Kerber’s sprayed a forehand well long.

The second set was more of the same as Osaka who controlled the points with deep, confident groundstrokes that Kerber had no answer for.

Osaka seemed to get a bout of nerves as she tried to settle the encounter but eventually, on her third match point, another Kerber forehand sailed long to hand her passage to the round of 32.

“She’s like the first high-seeded player I’ve beaten this year,” Osaka said in her on-court interview. “I feel like I came into the match wanting to dictate. My power on the shots was working really well.”

Osaka looks a different player in Miami, having revealed that she has started seeing a therapist.

“I kind of realize anything that I do from this point is like a bonus,” she said. “Of course, I want to win all the tournaments that I play. I want to win more Grand Slams. But at this point in my life, I just want to be grateful for being healthy.

“There’s a lot of really good players that might get injured or might get sick. I actually haven’t gotten injured ever. Granted my career is quite short. I’ve been able to achieve a lot. Hopefully I achieve more. But I think I need to stay grounded.”