‘Waking up in the morning is a win,’ says Naomi Osaka after edging Coco Gauff in Cincinnati

Naomi Osaka swinging

She made a winning return to the WTA Tour as she overcame a slow start to beat Coco Gauff at the Western & Southern Open, but for Naomi Osaka “waking up in the morning is a win”.

Osaka has not featured in a regular Tour match since withdrawing from the French Open in May, although she did play at the Tokyo Olympics where she made a third-round exit.

The world No 2 lost the opening set against rising teenager Gauff before finding her rhythm to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 51 minutes in Mason.

After Osaka wasted two early break point opportunities, it was the American who got the only break of the first set as she capitalised on an erratic service game from the Japanese player in game nine.

And the second seed continued to struggle early in the second set as Gauff broke again in game three, but this time she hit back straight away and broke again in game eight before serving out the set.

Osaka carried the momentum over to the decider with a break in the opening game and then held her nerve for the rest of the set.

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Asked how she turned things around during the on-court interview, the four-time Grand Slam winner said: “I’ve had a really weird year. I think some of you know what happened to me this year. I changed my mindset a lot.

“Even if I lost I would have felt that I’m a winner. There’s so much stuff going on in the world…. just waking up in the morning is a win.”

Up next is Jill Teichmann for a place in the quarter-final after the Swiss wildcard beat American Bernarda Pera 6-1, 6-4.