NY/FL/Japan’s @Naomi_Osaka_ Sizzles in @USOpen First Round
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Long Island-born Naomi Osaka had an easy time in scorching conditions in her opening round match on Grandstand at the US Open today, beating German Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-2. Osaka jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set and though Siegemund looked more composed to start the second set, Osaka quickly broke her again and held on to serve out the match in just one hour and eighteen minutes.
For Osaka, she’s now 3-0 in first round matches in New York. She also keeps her streak alive trying to reach the third round or better in a sixth straight grand slam. Coming into last year’s US Open, the then-unseeded Japanese player made it to the third round where she became a victim of dangerous floater Kaia Kanepi. This year, she’s seeded 20th, and she’s expected to make the third round or better at this year’s event. Today’s win also saw Osaka pass the $2 million earnings mark at the age of 20.
As to the idea that she plays better in larger tournaments, Osaka said, “I mean, I have sort of already accepted the fact that I probably play better during the big stages. I think that’s just something that I grew up watching, like, people on the bigger stages. And I have always wanted to play on Arthur Ashe and stuff, so when the chance comes, of course I’m going to play my best.”
While happy that she won, she admitted that “I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I didn’t play as well as I wanted to. But I’m really happy with how I fought. I didn’t let her sort of — like, towards the end of the first set, I think I dropped two games in a row, and I managed to stop her from coming back.”
Osaka will look to reach another third round on Thursday against qualifier Julia Glushko.