Australian Open: Naomi Osaka hits ground running in Melbourne with opening win

Australian Open: Naomi Osaka hits ground running in Melbourne with opening win

Naomi Osaka settled to beat Colombian Camila Osorio in their first meeting; world No 14 next faces Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle; Greek star Maria Sakkari, Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic, Amanda Anisimova, and Camila Giorgi also earned early victories on Monday

Last Updated: 17/01/22 5:54am

Naomi Osaka began her Australian Open title defence with a
comfortable victory on Monday in Melbourne

Defending champion Naomi Osaka began her Australian Open campaign with a
smooth victory over young Colombian Camila Osorio.

Having taken four months off at the end of last season, Osaka returned to the match court two weeks ago and has hit the ground running in Melbourne, winning 6-3 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.

The 13th seed raced into a 5-0 lead against 20-year-old Osorio, who was making her Australian Open debut, before being pegged back to 5-3.

Osaka stopped the rot, though, to take the opening set and kept her nose in front through the second to clinch victory.

“It always feels special to come back here,” said Osaka, who is seeking her third Melbourne Park title.

“I thought she played amazing. Overall I’m just happy to be here, I’m happy to see everybody in the audience and I hope we gave you a great performance.”

Maria Sakkari withstood a late charge from Tatjana Maria to beat the German 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

“I didn’t feel great out there, but I found a solution, found a way to win,” Sakkari said afterwards.

“She has a tricky game that sometimes it makes you feel uncomfortable inside the court. Yeah, it was a decent match. I kind of, like, survived.”

Elina Svitolina, a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist in 2018 and 2019, also advanced, beating Fiona Ferro, 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in an hour and 32 minutes.

Reigning Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic won a battle between former Top 10 players, defeating France’s Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-3.

The Swiss ace will next face Amanda Anisimova, who won her second career WTA singles title two weeks ago at Melbourne Summer Set 2, battling past Dutch qualifier Arianne Hartono 2-6 6-4 6-3.

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