Osaka was cheered with a 6-3 6-4 first-round victory over Australia’s Astra Sharma at the Miami Open, her first appearance since being reduced to tears after being heckled in a loss in the second round at Indian Wells earlier this month.
Last update: 03/23/22 9:05 p.m.
Naomi Osaka rebounded from her tearful exit in Indian Wells with a comfortable win over Astra Sharma at the Miami Open.
The 24-year-old broke down in tears during her second-round loss to Veronika Kudermetova at the BNP Paribas Masters in California earlier this month after being heckled by a spectator who allegedly yelled at her “Naomi, you suck”.
Osaka, who missed parts of the 2021 season due to mental health issues, was mocked early in the game and it was undoubtedly a major factor as they lost 6-0 6-4 to the world No. 24 . problems for the four-time Grand Slam champion in Miami against Australian world No. 96 Sharma in a routine 6-3 6-4 first-round win.
Playing in what she calls her home tournament, Osaka was in control from the moment she stepped onto the court at Hard Rock Stadium, never allowing Sharma a single break opportunity while keeping her 96th-ranked opponent under. constant pressure, converting two of 11 breaks. points.
“It’s like my home tournament,” Osaka said during his post-match on-court interview, prompting a round of cheers. “Honestly, I just didn’t want to let anything bother me today no matter what happened. The last game I played was not the biggest memory for me.
“I just wanted to prove that I could come back here and compete and whether I win or lose, just know that I had the best attitude possible.”
The win was Osaka’s 50th career WTA 1000 win and sets up a second-round clash against fellow former world No. 1 in 13th seed Angelique Kerber.
Raducanu watches Draper deliver UK showdown with Norrie
Britain’s youngster Jack Draper has made a winning return to the Miami Open, a year after his dramatic collapse on the court.
Draper, 20, beat former veteran world number 6 Gilles Simon 7-5 6-1 in the first round. It was a far cry from his ATP Tour main draw debut 12 months earlier, when Draper wilted in sunny Miami.
He collapsed to the ground from heat exhaustion at the end of the first set against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin and had to retire. Draper has matured both physically and mentally since that traumatic day and has already won three challenger titles this year, rising to 146 worldwide.
As compatriot and US Open champion Emma Raducanu looked on from the stands, Draper seized the crucial break in game 11 to claim the opening set. Simon, 37, was hampered by a foot injury early in the second and Draper took full advantage, winning the first four games en route to a maiden win at a Masters 1000.
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“Last year was all in my head,” Draper said Amazon Prime. “I felt I could have done things better, but he is very experienced and makes you work hard to score points. I think I handled the situation very well.”
The former Wimbledon boys runner-up set up an all-British showdown with top-ranked Briton Cameron Norrie in the second round.
“Cam is a great guy, I play with him a lot in the UK. It will be a big challenge for me,” Draper added.
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