Naomi Osaka declares she is ‘happy’ after big win in Miami against Angelique Kerber

WTA Tour
Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka claimed her first victory over a top-20 player for a year, easily dispatching three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-3.

The former world number one has dropped to 77 in the rankings but played a strong match to set up a third-round clash with Karolina Muchova, who is returning from an injury-enforced break and upset Leylah Fernandez.

Osaka said: “I’m definitely really happy with how this match went. I think she’s beaten me the last three times we’ve played, so to turn that around and be able to do that in two sets is really nice.

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

Osaka has hinted she is trying to take the pressure off herself on court after suffering with mental health challenges over the last year, with her approach clearly aimed at lightening the weight on her shoulders.

“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.”

Elsewhere in Miami, Danielle Collins played her first completed match since reaching the Australian Open final, beating Anna Bondar of Hungary 6-3 3-6 6-4, while eighth seed Ons Jabeur saw off Magda Linette 7-6 (1) 6-2.

Britain’s Emma Raducanu crashed to a first round defeat, while Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza pulled out of the tournament on Thursday with thigh and shoulder problems, respectively.

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