Osaka Loses In Her First Match At Abu Dhabi Open Against Qualifier Collins

Osaka Loses In Her First Match At Abu Dhabi Open Against Qualifier Collins

by Zachary Wimer

Naomi Osaka played at another tournament, the 2024 Abu Dhabi Open, but once again, it was a loss, as Danielle Collins bested her.

The American is retiring this year, so she has an added motivation to do well, while for Osaka all of this is part of the process. She's motivated, too, she said it many times, but when you watch her play, it's clear that she's still not quite ready for this level.

There is a glaring problem with movement as she doesn't move well enough for this level. Part of that is likely to do with her conditioning, as Martina Navratilova famously said a few weeks ago that Osaka is not in shape.

It's to be expected so early in her return, and it will only get better. On the serve, Osaka looks good, as she even hit one 205 km/h (127 mph) serve. It's not too terrible, though it's obviously a far cry from her best tennis.

The struggles are immense on return, both with the return and just in rallies. She wasn't able to create consistent pressure the way Collins was able to do to her.

The surface is pretty well suited for that, which is why both players succeeded on the opponent's second serve. The opening set was pretty close until the last two games.

Collins won them, stepping up in crucial moments to win them and secure the set 7-5. The second set opened pretty badly for Osaka, who couldn't counter her opponent anymore.

She fell behind 0-3, and it took her a while to get back into the match. Even taking a 40-0 lead down 0-3 on Collins's serve didn't matter much because the American held that game for the 4-0 lead.

Osaka couldn't find any magic after that, and he final score ended up being 7-5 6-0 for Collins, who set up a second-round match with the top-seeded Elena Rybakina.

More matches are needed for Osaka because while her struggles were expected, it's clear that she could do much better than she's doing right now.


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