The Japanese player opted to play in the Middle East after crashing out early at the Australian Open. The initial idea was to only play in Dubai as she expected to have a good week in Melbourne, but since she didn't, she opted to play more events.
The suggestion came from her coach, who wanted her to play as many matches as possible as that's the only way to find her tennis again. The Abu Dhabi Open campaign was a disappointment for her, but it finally clicked in Doha in a win over Caroline Garcia.
She served well, she returned well and showed some really nice hitting ability. That will suit her well moving forward, especially against a player like Martic, who is pretty skilled at negating that.
They only played once so far, and it was a long time ago, in 2014. Osaka won that match in three sets, but it doesn't tell us anything about this upcoming match.
Martic doesn't have Osaka's power, nor does she have the hitting ability, but she's pretty skilled at countering that with variety. Osaka should cruise in this match, but only if she finds the level she had against Garcia.
Osaka will likely this match because she'll start to play better. Hitting was never a problem for her, but the moving is coming slowly together. She needs a good run with a few wins, and this is a pretty good chance to earn another one.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in two sets.