Osaka Overcomes Slow Start To Ease Through Opening Round In Indian Wells

Osaka Overcomes Slow Start To Ease Through Opening Round In Indian Wells

by Jordan Reynolds

Naomi Osaka defeated Sara Errani in straight sets at the Indian Wells Open, although she did have to improve after not being at her best at the beginning of the match.

Osaka played her first match since 2022 at the Masters 1000 event. She was missing last year due to being away on maternity leave for the entirety of the 2023 season.

The Japanese star has also spoken bravely in the past about struggles with her mental health before taking some time away from the sport. Osaka recently praised Andy Murray for always checking on her in these difficult moments.

Now that she is back, Osaka is embracing the challenge of being a player and a mom. Her latest match in that challenge was against gritty veteran of the WTA Tour Errani.

Osaka also showcased her outstanding green outfit for the tournament for the first time. Her tennis was not amazing at the start of her contest with Errani, but she soon found her feet against the Italian.

The four-time Grand Slam champion was far below her best at the start of the match. It took her some time to adapt to the lack of pace that Errani was giving her. There were three breaks in the first five games, with two of these going to Errani.

Osaka then began to find her feet. She started serving better and ended up hitting seven aces in the opening set. The 26-year-old also began to time her shots better on the return to put pressure on Errani.

These factors led to Osaka winning the last four games of the set to take it 6-3. She was still not at her vintage best, but the Japanese player was getting better and better throughout the match.

That trend continued in the second set. Osaka was hitting the ball well from the start of set 2, but to Errani's credit, she kept battling and managed to hold her opening service game, despite trailing 0-40 in it.

However, that was as good as the second set got for the Italian. She was getting completely overwhelmed from the baseline by Osaka's power. Errani tried to respond by being more aggressive to herself, but that just gave Osaka extra pace to hit more winners.

Osaka won six games in a row to overcome her slow start in the first set and comfortably progress to the next round with a 6-3 6-1 victory.


You may also like