Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka added a second great performance at the Miami Open on Thursday, where numerous title candidates, including Emma Raducanu and Aryna Sabalenka, were dismounted at their premiere.
In a duel of former number one in the world ranking, Naomi Osaka (77 in the WTA) dispatched German Angelique Kerber (15) in the second round 6-2, 6-3 in just one hour of play.
The 24-year-old Japanese star was intractable on serve (6 ‘aces’ to 1 for his rival) in a win that helped him recover good feelings after a few difficult last few months on and off the court.
Kerber “is the best-seeded player I’ve beaten this season and I’m very happy,” said Osaka, who had made her debut the day before with a straight-set win against Australia’s Astra Sharma (96).
On Wednesday, Osaka revealed that she has started working with a therapist to address the issues that played a role in her dramatic elimination from Indian Wells earlier this month.
After receiving an insult from the stands, the four-time Grand Slam winner broke down in tears during and after her second match in Indian Wells against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova.
– Sabalenka falls again in debut –
Thursday saw a succession of unexpected eliminations in the women’s tournament, in the WTA 1000 category, including two members of the top-10 in the world ranking, Sabalenka and Estonian Anett Kontaveit, as well as the champion and runner-up of the past US Open , Raducanu and the young Canadian Leylah Fernández.
Raducanu, 19 years old and thirteenth in the WTA ranking, suffered another disappointment in her young career against the Czech Katerina Siniakova, who came back a set in her favor to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
The Briton, who led 2-4 in the deciding set, has yet to live up to the gigantic expectations generated by her shock 2021 triumph at Flushing Meadows.
For her part, Leylah Fernández, whose father is Ecuadorian, was eliminated by the Czech Karolína Muchová 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
As in Indian Wells, Aryna Sabalenka, number five in the world ranking, said goodbye in her debut by losing a double 6-4 against the Romanian Irina Begu while Anett Kontaveit, number 7, stumbled against the American Ann Li 6-0, 3 -6 and 6-4.
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, ranked 20th, also lost to British Heather Watson, number 115, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
The Miami Open, where surprise still reigns due to the retirement of world number one Ashleigh Barty from tennis, also suffered the resignations due to injury of the Spanish-Venezuelan Garbiñe Muguruza and the Romanian Simona Halep.
– Ominous day for Argentina –
In the men’s Masters 1000, veteran Andy Murray defeated Argentine Federico Delbonis 7-6 (7/4) and 6-1 and met Russian Daniil Medvdev, number two in the world ranking, in the second round.
Three other Argentine tennis representatives suffered the same fate as Delbonis.
Federico Coria fell to the young American Jenson Brooksby 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 while Sebastián Báez did so to the Polish Kamil Majchrzak (6-4, 6-3) and Facundo Bagnis against the South African Lloyd Harris (6 -3 and 6-3).