Osaka Sends Japan Into Comfortable Lead Over Kazakhstan At Billie Jean King Cup

Osaka Sends Japan Into Comfortable Lead Over Kazakhstan At Billie Jean King Cup

by Erik Virostko

Naomi Osaka got a chance to represent her country once again, taking part in the 2024 Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers.

Without the four-time Grand Slam champion, Japan hasn't had much success in the Billie Jean King Cup in the past couple of seasons, but the country still found themselves playing for the Finals later this year.

In the qualifiers, Japan was drawn against Kazakhstan, and without Elena Rybakina in their team, the Kazakhstani players knew they would have a difficult job taking on Japan, especially with the former world no. 1.

Osaka was looking forward to the challenge, but on Day 1 of the tie, she wasn't the first player to walk onto the court. In the first match of the tie, her compatriot Nao Hibino took on Anna Dalinina, who isn't a player focusing on singles.

The result reflected that, as the Japanese player won the match 6-1, 6-0, giving Osaka more freedom to play, as her country already had a 1-0 lead in the tie.

Osaka took on Putintseva, who surprisingly, holds a winning H2H against her, as she won their first three matches, with Osaka's only win coming in Osaka in 2019. Now, five years later, she added another one, and once again on the home soil.

The first set was really solid from the home player, especially since facing two break points at 2-2. Osaka completely turned the set around after that, winning four games in a row to win it 6-2.

The second set was much closer, with both players having one break point, but not using the chance. As a result, the set had to be decided in a tie-break, and good serving helped the Japanese player.

She was the better player throughout the match, and also in the tie-break, winning it 7-5 to win the match 6-2, 7-6(5) and secure her country's second point in the tie, giving them a 2-0 lead, with one more match left to win to seal the spot at the Finals.


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