Osaka Records Her First Clay Win Since 2022 With Impressive First-Round Showing In Madrid

Osaka Records Her First Clay Win Since 2022 With Impressive First-Round Showing In Madrid

by Zachary Wimer

Naomi Osaka played her second match on clay this year and earned her first win on the surface since 2022, starting her 2024 Madrid Open campaign positively.

The Japanese player returned to clay for the first time since 2022 last week in Rouen, but she was beaten in her first match on the surface. It was an odd event for Osaka, who rushed from Japan to play.

She was in action for her country in the Billie Jean King Cup, so she didn't really get a good preparation for the WTA 250 tournament in Rouen. Still, that match helped her get used to the surface, which worked out in her favor against Greet Minnen, who was no match for the Japanese player.

Madrid was always going to be a good place for Osaka to play because the ball flies a bit faster due to the altitude, and the serve is more important. She has a good serve and utilized it well in this match, with a few aces and dominance on her serve.

She won the opening set 6-4 without giving her opponent a single break point. On return, Osaka did enough to break, and it would prove enough to also win the opening set 6-4.

The Japanese player was more dominant in the second set because she had found her tennis in the meantime and had gotten used to the Madrid conditions.

She easily outplayed Minnen, who could not match her in the rallies or put any kind of pressure on Osaka's serve. Osaka took an early 2-0 lead and then added another break later on to make it 4-0. From there, it was a really simple cruise, with the final score being 6-4, 6-1.

It was a great start for her and a good confidence-building win. This court could certainly see her go far as she gets used to playing on clay after two years of absence from the surface. Up next is a challenge in the 15th-seeded Liudmila Samsonova for the former world no. 1.


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