Naomi Osaka sweeps aside idol Serena Williams in Miami Open

24 March, 2018, 04:37 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • New era! The Hard Rock Stadium which is also home to the Miami Dolphins football team will be transformed into a tennis arena each year for the Miami Open

"I don't know if anybody knows this but Serena is my favorite player", Osaka said after the match.

The 36-year-old, who last won the tournament in 2015, faced newly-crowned Indian Wells Masters champion Naomi Osaka in the first round.

The 20-year-old Osaka is in the form of her life and the win over 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena was the latest she added in her list, that too in their first career meeting.

The pair were on serve until Osaka forced break point chances at 3-3 and Williams was unable to deal with a blistering backhand at her feet.

Serena Williams' return to the Miami Open lasted just over an hour.

Such a lengthy absence means she's now ranked 491 and although the 36-year-old can use a protected world standing to enter up to eight tournaments during a 12-month period - thus avoiding qualifying - it does not apply to seedings.

Williams has won the Miami Open tournament a record eight times and received a wild-card entry.

Osaka is 14-4 this year and will meet No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina in the second round. She looked overwhelmed at times by Osaka, and particularly helpless against those W.W.S.D. serves, both out wide and down the middle.


In the match before Osaka and Williams took the court on Wednesday afternoon, another mother and former No. 1 on the comeback trail, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat young American Catherine Bellis 6-3, 6-0.

"For entertainment reasons, it's very important to have Serena Williams in the draw, but I don't think it's important to have her in the seeding positions at the moment", Minella said. It set up a rare early encounter between one of the great players of all time and one of the hottest current players. She said, 'Good job, ' but I kind of blanked out.

She continues to impress in her third year on tour and if she continues at this rate, she could be in the top 10 before Wimbledon.

- Osaka's idol is Serena Williams: "Serena's my favourite players".

"I'm happy that I'm playing", the 3-time Miami victor Azarenka said.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost her first WTA tour match since dislocating her right kneecap in 2017.

"Besides numbing my left forearm 30 minutes before my first match at Indian Wells in order to get through the match without any recurring pain I have had in past months, I also found out I had an air pocket in my lung from which I wasn't allowed to fly for 3 weeks from first findings, per doctors, until it healed". She had a kid which we should all be celebrating so when she comes back there should be a grace period where she can still be seeded.

"I was extremely nervous coming on the court".

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