Naomi Osaka looked a tad rusty but ultimately backed her superior skills to clinch the Miami opener 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 against Ajla Tomljanovic.
Daniil Medvedev too celebrated his rise to second in the world with a seamless entry into the Miami Open on Friday, trouncing Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun in less than an hour. Russia’s Medvedev needed just 56 minutes to subdue Lu 6-2, 6-2, firing nine aces with just one double fault as he advanced to a third-round meeting with Australian Alexei Popyrin, a 6-4, 6-2, winner over 30th-seeded American Reilly Opelka.
Naomi Osaka’s minor tumble-
Osaka acknowledged she was feeling some nerves in her first match since she lifted her fourth Grand Slam title in Melbourne.
“I would say what I’m most proud of today, just being able to handle my nerves,” she said.
That was a bigger problem than the gusty wind on Grandstand Court at Hard Rock Stadium, where 77th-ranked Tomljanovic twice went up a break in the opening set but despite an impressive display of power was eventually undone by 24 unforced errors.
Thirteen aces among her 36 winners helped Osaka overcome a slew of unforced errors of her own and set up a third-round meeting with Serbian qualifier Nina Stojanovic, who surprised Yulia Putintseva, the 26th seed from Kazakhstan, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.
Serving into the sun in the final game, Osaka clunked her shot off the lip of her racket, blooping the ball past an astonished Tomljanović.
“That was actually kind of funny when I got past my frustration,” Osaka said. “The sun was like on top of a cloud, and it gave off this really weird glare effect.”
“It was kind of my fault for being stubborn and not trying to catch my toss and wait it out,” she added.
Medvedev’s might in Miami-
Medvedev, the top seed in an ATP Masters event for the first time, was all over Lu from the opening game.
He belted 24 winners to become the second player — along with compatriot Andrey Rublev — to reach 15 match wins this year.
Medvedev also recently became the first player outside the “Big Four” of Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to rank second in the world since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.
But he’s already looking for more.
“The only thing I feel like when you reach something you haven’t done then straight away it doesn’t matter and you want to go further and further,” he said. “I think it’s the same for everybody. “
“I’m happy about my achievement but only trying to improve every day and want to go further.”