Naomi Osaka extends her winning streak to 22 matches as she returns to action
Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka enjoyed a triumphant return to action by extending her winning streak to 22 matches with a narrow victory over Ajla Tomljanovic at the Miami Open.
Second seed Osaka was playing for the first time since clinching the fourth grand slam title of her career in Melbourne at the end of January having been handed a first-round bye.
She was made to work hard by the world number 77 and twice recovered from a break down before prevailing 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 in an hour and 38 minutes to continue her fine form.
Nina Stojanovic awaits Osaka in round three after she came from a set down to upset 26th seed Yulia Putintseva 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.
“This is my first match since Australia, so I just really wanted to play well,” Osaka – who has gone more than a year without defeat – is quoted as saying by wtatennis.com.
“I think for me, today I served really well when I needed to.
“Unfortunately I got broken a couple of times, but I think when it really, really mattered, I was able to serve well, so I’m happy with that.”
The winning streak continues 💫
— wta (@WTA) March 26, 2021
While most of the seeds enjoyed safe passage, Kiki Bertens and Petra Martic joined Putintseva in making early exits.
Dutch 10th seed Bertens was comprehensively beaten, suffering a shock 6-2 6-1 loss to world number 136 Liudmila Samsonova, while 20th seed Martic blew a one-set lead to lose to 5-7 6-2 7-6 (4) to Anna Kalinskaya
Samsonova’s reward is a third-round encounter with Greece’s Maria Sakkari, who dispatched Arantxa Rus 6-2 6-3.
Also on Friday, two-time grand slam winner Garbine Muguruza beat Xinyu Wang 6-4 6-1, sixth seed Karolina Pliskova cruised past Saisai Zheng 6-2 6-1, while 16th seed Elise Mertens overcame Britain’s Katie Boulter 6-4 6-1.
American Sloane Stephens – the 2018 champion – was beaten 6-3 6-3 by her seeded compatriot Amanda Anisimova.
Elsewhere, Jessica Pegula defeated Storm Sanders 6-3 6-4, Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina saw off Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-4 6-0, and Canada’s Bianca Andreescu beat Tereza Martincova 7-6 (5) 6-2.
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