Osaka's Win In Second Match On Comeback Slips Away In Last-Minute Turnaround

Osaka's Win In Second Match On Comeback Slips Away In Last-Minute Turnaround

by Erik Virostko

Naomi Osaka was close to winning in her second match at the 2024 Brisbane International, but Karolina Pliskova eventually proved to be too strong to overcome.

After winning her first match since September 2022, Osaka was set to take on the former world no. 1 at the WTA 500 tournament in Brisbane, and that would prove to be the real test for the Japanese player.

Little did the four-time Grand Slam champion know that it would be one of the best matches early in the season, as both players blasted winners left and right without making too many errors.

In the first set of the match, Osaka was super solid on her serve. She lost it once from a 40-15 lead after breaking her opponent and leading 2-0, but from there, she lost only three more points on her serve.

On top of that, she managed to add another break, as Pliskova showed some struggles with only three aces and four doubles faults, while the Japanese player hit five aces and only one double fault, resulting in a 6-3 win in the opening set.

In the second set of the match, Osaka could have gone into a one-break lead early again, as she had three consecutive break points in the third game of the set, after winning seven straight points, but she could not increase that to eight and break her opponent.

Pliskova then significantly improved her serving performance, hitting eight aces, while winning 92% of points after her first serve, and even Osaka's six aces and 83% success after the first serve was not enough to win the set, as she lost it in a tie-break, 4-7.

After two close sets, the third one was about to decide, and all that mattered was efficiency. Osaka won four of her five service games while losing only one point in each, but that did not matter as once she did not convert a game point, and got broken by Pliskova's only break point.

On the other hand, the Czech player faced three break points throughout the set, but her 83% win rate after the first serve kept her alive, and as a result, she won the match in three sets 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.

The stats after the match only proved the quality of it, as Osaka hit 40 winners while making only 12 unforced errors, while Pliskova was able to hit 47 winners and hit only 24 unforced errors.

The Japanese player also won only one point less than her opponent (100 vs. 101), but what mattered was the break point conversion, as the four-time Grand Slam champion converted only 2 from 12, while the Czech player used both chances that she had.

For Pliskova, the third-round clash with either the third-seeded Jelena Ostapenko or Camila Giorgi follows, while Osaka will certainly be happy despite the loss, as she showed high level and is certainly ready to go to Melbourne.


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