Osaka Kicks Off Her Grass Season With Revenge Win Over Mertens

Osaka Kicks Off Her Grass Season With Revenge Win Over Mertens

by Zachary Wimer

Naomi Osaka returned to the tennis courts at the 2024 Libema Open, starting off her grass season with a really solid win over Elise Mertens in two sets.

The last time we saw the former world no. 1 played was at Roland Garros, where she had match points against Iga Swiatek. That was the only match Swiatek was close to losing, and she was really emotional after that win.

Having won Roland Garros makes Osaka's performance look strong, and it clearly was no fluke. She started off her grass season in Den Bosch and did really well against a player that is no stranger to playing well on grass.

Mertens also bested Osaka at the Indian Wells Open, so it's certainly not an easy matchup for the Japanese player, especially on a surface that doesn't come naturally to Osaka.

It certainly looked quite natural in this match as Osaka bested her opponent in the opening set 6-2. She was dominant with her baseline play, quite similar to how she was dominant against Swiatek.

She also dominated, with her serve losing only one point behind her first serve. She did face break points but saved both of them, which is another crucial tidbit to remember. Mertens is a solid player, but she doesn't have Osaka's hitting capabilities.

She won that Indian Wells match because the Japanese player simply couldn't find any sort of rhythm in it. She just missed balls wide, and that certainly didn't happen in this match.

The second set didn't offer anything new, with Osaka once again cruising quite comfortably in that one. Overall, it was just a very solid first showing on grass from Osaka.

With more matches, the Japanese player could certainly become a title challenge in Den Bosch and a potential threat to Wimbledon. For now, she'll look to keep this level at the Libema Open going, as she needs matches. The final score was 6-2, 6-4.


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