Naomi Osaka finally won back-to-back matches during her comeback, marking the first time in 23 months it has happened.
Of course, Osaka spent a good part of that time away from the tennis courts due to her pregnancy, but previously, she also struggled to find her top level, with her last back-to-back wins coming at the 2022 Miami Open, where she reached the final.
She's been back for a few weeks now and her struggles were quite obvious. Until yesterday, Osaka only had one win to her name but finally got another one by beating Caroline Garcia in the opening round of the 2024 Qatar Open.
It was a much-needed victory for the four-time major winner, who was quite in a bad mood after her early loss in Abu Dhabi. The draw finally got her a very good shot at winning another match by pairing her up with Petra Martic, and she delivered.
The Croatian actually played her really tough, somewhat surprisingly so because, in rallies, it was expected that Osaka would be able to dominate. She cruised in the opening set largely unchallenged by her opponent.
She didn't really face any break points on her own serve and broke her opponent once, which was all she needed to take the opening set. The second set was far more competitive as Martic was able to find some solutions.
Osaka struggled more on the serve this time around and even got broken by Martic, but he still was the better player for much of it. She took a break midway through but would give it back.
She then took a break once more, and once again, she was broken back. Martic finally took the lead again, but Osaka pushed the set into the tie-break.
The tie-break was a really close one, as Osaka had to save set points, but she did and won it 11-9, winning the match 6-3, 7-6(9). It was quite a spectacular conclusion to another really solid performance by Osaka.