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Naomi Osaka overcomes poor serving in Miami Open win

Mar 26, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan serves against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia (not pictured) in the second round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan serves against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia (not pictured) in the second round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Naomi Osaka got off to a slow start but still won her opening match at the Miami Open in straight sets Friday.

The second-seeded Japanese player defeated Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (3), 6-4 in second-round action. All of the seeded players received first-round byes in Miami.

The victory was the 22nd in a row for Osaka, who won the Australian Open nearly a month ago but hadn’t played since.

Osaka lost her serve in the first game against Tomljanovic but immediately broke back. She closed out the set by winning the final three points of the tiebreaker.

The second set featured just one service break, which Osaka secured to grab a 5-4 lead. She served out the match in the ensuing game.

Osaka put only 49 percent of her first serves in play, though she saved seven of the nine break points she faced.

“I was feeling a bit nervous,” Osaka said, “I saw a lot of fans out there.”

She added, “My decision-making on some shots was kind of questionable. I served really well when I needed to, when it really, really mattered.”

Read More: Naomi Osaka rolls to fourth Grand Slam title at Australian Open

Fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin of the United States faced a stiffer second-round challenge, eventually prevailing 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-3 against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

Kenin converted six of her seven break-point chances to win in 1 hour, 59 minutes. The match was the first for Kenin since she underwent an appendectomy in mid-February.

“I obviously felt a bit more nervous at the beginning,” Kenin said. “I just told myself to keep fighting. I’m just grateful that I’m able to play here because I really wanted to get ready for the Miami Open and just enjoy every minute out there.”

Sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic cruised past China’s Saisai Zheng 6-2, 6-1, and eighth-seeded Bianca Andreescu of Canada eliminated Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (5), 6-2. Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, the 12th seed, and Belgium’s Elise Mertens, the 16th seed, both earned 6-4, 6-1 victories, Muguruza topping China’s Xinyu Wang and Mertens defeating Great Britain’s Katie Boulter.

Four seeded players lost their second-round matches.

Russia’s Liudmilla Samsonova upset 10th-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherland 6-2, 6-1. Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo rallied past the 14th-seeded Jennifer Brady of the United States 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya topped 20th-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (4), and Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic came from behind to defeat 26th-seeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

–Field Level Media