Osaka Impressively Wins At Miami Open Despite Brave Fightback From Svitolina

Osaka Impressively Wins At Miami Open Despite Brave Fightback From Svitolina

by Jordan Reynolds

Naomi Osaka produced her best performance since returning to the sport in 2024 to overcome Elina Svitolina at the Miami Open.

Osaka's results and performances have been mixed so far this season after her comeback. In Indian Wells, she defeated Sara Errani and Liudmila Samsonova, before Osaka's serve let her down against Elise Mertens.

The four-time Grand Slam champion started very well in her previous match in Miami. Osaka dominated on serve to easily triumph against Elisabetta Cocciaretto without facing a break point.

Svitolina was a great test of where Osaka's level is at right now. The former Grand Slam semifinalist also returned from maternity leave last year and has played some outstanding tennis since doing so.

Many will have expected a tight match between these two great players. However, Osaka did not allow that to happen with a performance that was sometimes reminiscent of her level during her Grand Slam triumphs.

Both players served strongly at the start of the contest. Osaka continued the rhythm she had on serve from her previous match throughout the entirety of the opening set, not conceding any break points.

That meant Svitolina needed to be perfect in her service games for the entire set. She could not do this after holding her first two games comfortably. Osaka then started to strike the ball imposingly from the baseline to break in the sixth game to lead 4-2.

The Japanese star only grew more confident after that. Svitolina was not playing badly but very few players could cope with Osaka's power. She broke again to take the opening set 6-2.

There was a chance for Svitolina when she had a break point at 1-1 in the second set. She had Osaka on the ropes in that point but the four-time Grand Slam champion hit a stunning low volley while moving backwards to see off that danger.

It felt like nothing was going to stop Osaka at that point. More hard-hitting tennis from Osaka gave her a break in the sixth game in the set once again and she then led 5-2.

It seemed like the match was over at that stage. However, Svitolina is one of the biggest fighters the sport has seen. Refusing to throw in the towel, the Ukrainian's dogged defensive efforts finally extracted errors from Osaka.

The former world No. 1 was broken when serving for the match at 5-3 and Svitolina followed it with a hold to level the match at 5-5. Both players then held to leave a tiebreak to decide the set.

There were several momentum shifts throughout the tiebreak. Svitolina eventually found herself down two match points at 6-4 to Osaka, but she saved the first with a stunning shot to put the pressure back on her illustrious opponent.

But Osaka found some inspiration herself at just the right moment. An incredible forehand cross-court on the run saw her take the second match point. She won a dramatic and high-quality second set to triumph 6-2 7-6.


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