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Birmingham | Osaka admits to being lucky

Birmingham | Osaka admits to being lucky

Naomi Osaka the world No.1 and top seed at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, has admitted she is not that comfortable playing on grass but she succeeded in coming through her opening round despite a second set set-back.

I got lucky a little bit I guess. I knew she was going to be a very difficult opponent Naomi Osaka

She defeated Maria Sakkari to make the last-16 with a hard-fought 6-1 4-6 6-3 win and next faces Yulia Putintseva, a 6-1 6-4 winner over Britain’s Harriet Dart, a wild card entry.

In her first match since her third-round exit at the French Open, 21-year-old Osaka struggled with her first serve against the world number 33 and required two hours to dispatch her Greek opponent. In that time, she fired seven aces and broke her opponent’s serve five times.

“I was kind of screaming on the inside during that entire match,” Osaka admitted later

“I got lucky a little bit I guess. I knew she was going to be a very difficult opponent.”

Meanwhile, former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko stormed into the next round with a 6-0 6-2, 52-minute demolition of Poland’s rising star teenager Iga Swiatek and will face Jo Konta in round two.

Wednesday’s schedule pitches identical 27-year-old twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova, against each other for the first time at a WTA event, following Kristyna’s 6-3 6-4 defeat of Viktoriya Tomova which ensured she played her sister in the second round.

Right-handed world number three Karolina and left-handed world number 112 Kristyna have played each other at lower levels, with head-to-heads tied at 4-4, but they haven’t played against each other since 2012.

“It’s very strange to play her,” Kristyna said. “We share a bedroom this tournament. It’s family, so you don’t want something bad [for her] but still I want to win as well. So I’m not really happy about it.”

Also through is the eighth seed Julia Goerges who came from behind to beat Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Play was suspended mid-afternoon forcing seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams’ match against Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich to be held over.

 






About The Author

Henry Wancke

Henry Wancke is one of the most respected Tennis writers in the UK. Henry is the Editor of both Tennis Threads Magazine and tennisthreads.net. He previously worked as Editor of Tennis World, Serve & Volley as well as Tennis Today magazines and been stringer for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Press Association. He also co-authored the Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Tennis with John Parsons published by Carlton, and the Federation Cup – the first 32 years, published by the ITF. Currently he is the Secretary of the Lawn Tennis Writers’ Association and Hon Vice President of the Tennis Industry Association UK.

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