Naomi Osaka dropped five games against Angelique to reach the third round of the Miami Open. The 24-year-old from Japan scored a straight-sets victory, 6-2, 6-3, in exactly one hour.
Reported by WTA
The Osaka-Kerber match featured the two women with the most Grand Slam singles titles in the draw, four and three, respectively. Neither player, however, started the year particularly well, with Kerber winning only two of five matches and Osaka losing in the third round of the Australian Open, skipping the Dubai and Doha and falling to Veronika Kudermetova in her second match at Indian Wells.
Osaka wasted no time taking control of the match, stroking a backhand winner down the line to break Kerber in the second game. With Kerber serving down 5-2, Osaka broke her again, converting her second set point when Kerber’s sprayed a forehand well long.
The second set was more of the same as Osaka, a decade younger than Kerber, controlled the points with deep, confident groundstrokes. Osaka took her third match point when another Kerber forehand sailed long.
Osaka served exceptionally well – with six aces, no double faults – winning 24 of 27 first-serve points. She hasn’t been broken in four sets.
Coming in, Kerber held a 4-1 career head-to-head advantage over Osaka. She was only one of two women to defeat Osaka four times, joining Simona Halep. Kerber had won the past four matches, although the two hadn’t met in more than three years.