Osaka Battles Through Tight Opening Set in Victory At Indian Wells Open

Osaka Battles Through Tight Opening Set in Victory At Indian Wells Open

by Jordan Reynolds

Naomi Osaka secured a very impressive victory against the 14th seed Liudmila Samsonova at the Indian Wells Open.

The four-time Grand Slam champion was playing her second match in Indian Wells. Osaka overcame a slow start to triumph against Sara Errani in the first round, but she played very well in the second set of that contest.

After that match, Osaka gave a very honest verdict on her level. The 26-year-old is a perfectionist, with that attitude clearly being one of the reasons for the considerable success she has enjoyed in her career.

That attention to detail is probably harder for the Japanese star than most players. This is because Osaka is embracing the challenge of being an athlete and a mom on the WTA Tour.

Samsonova was a big test of Osaka's level. Although the Russian has not had the best start to the season, she is still the No. 14 seed at the Indian Wells Open for a reason. The first set proved crucial in Osaka overcoming her.

Osaka dominated the early stages of the match. She broke Samsonova in the second game of the set, with the Russian struggling to adjust to the pace of Osaka's groundstrokes in the opening moments.

Incredibly, Osaka won 14 of her first 15 points on serve, However, the momentum suddenly turned. Samsonova began to thrive by hitting deep and down the middle to cut off angles for Osaka, and she broke twice in a row to lead 5-4 and be able to serve for the set.

Yet, the drama in set 1 was not finished. Osaka managed to break back, before raising her level even further with some outstanding hitting to complete a comeback and break once again in the 12th game to take the set 7-5.

The biggest moment of the second set was a very long fourth game. In truth, it was not of the highest quality, with unforced errors from both. But on her third break point, and after the fourth deuce, Osaka broke to make it 3-1.

Osaka had to fend off some pressure to get over the finishing line. She saved a break point in the seventh game to lead 5-2, before facing another break point when serving for the match at 5-3.

However, Osaka showed her champion's mentality to come through that danger. She served out the match to seal a 7-5 6-3 victory.


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