Naomi Osaka serving her way past Caroline Garcia and in to the Qatar Open second round Photo: AFP

Osaka beats Garcia in Qatar to avenge Australian Open loss


Naomi Osaka put last week's first round defeat in Abu Dhabi behind her with a straight sets defeat of 15th seed Caroline Garcia at the Qatar Open on Monday.

This was former world number one Osaka's second win from the five matches she has played since returning last month after a 15-month time out on maternity leave from the tour.

The Japanese four-time Grand Slam winner was exacting a small measure of revenge on Garcia with this 7-5, 6-4 success in Doha as it was the French star Garcia who knocked her out in the first round of last month's Australian Open.

And she reckons she is beginning to find her stride again after becoming a mum.

"I feel like I'm a much better player now. In Australia, my returns weren't as good and I don't feel like I was as focused as I am now," said the match winner.

On coming back physically after pregnancy she added: "It’s been a really tough journey.

"I felt like I was chasing myself in the past and it honestly wasn't really healthy to do. After giving birth, I feel I trained really quickly, I’m a very big perfectionist and it's tough when you don't see results as quickly.

"I felt like I was driving a car that wasn't mine. So my body didn't feel like the body that I was used to. It was in that journey I felt like I learned how to love myself as I am now. I got to wake up every day and see my daughter and know that I was strong enough for her to come into this world."

Osaka's next assignment on her comeback trail is a second round date with Petra Martic of Croatia.

This is the second time the pair have crossed swords but it comes a decade after their first encounter.

A 16-year-old Osaka prevailed on that occasion, a final qualifying round match at Stanford in 2014.

The omens did not look great for Osaka on Monday as Garcia won her first 11 service points but she knuckled down and finally broke her opponent when she was serving for the set to level at 5-5.

She then fended off two break points before wrapping up the set with a love break.

A further break of serve in the last game of the match earned her the pick-me-up win she needed after her early knockout a week ago.

"Every time I had a break point opportunity, I was very accurate on my shot," said Garcia.

"And I was able to take this opportunity in Australia and today I was not.

"The same as Australia, it was played on very few points alone. Those points she was a better player today."

Two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek began her quest for a third straight title in emphatic fashion with a 6-1, 6-1 second round win over Romania's Sorana Cirstea.

"I feel like it was a really solid match. I kind of felt like I was able to keep my focus from the beginning to the end and then after every game I was more confident and I could even relax a little bit more at the end" the world number one said.

Also through was sixth seed Marketa Vondrousova after her 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 defeat of Belgian Greet Minnen.

© 2024 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Naomi Osaka is no longer about tennis. She’s about attention.

Four easiest ways to get attention (according to Chris Rock)

(1) Be excellent 

Like Serena, who had the greatest tennis career ever. Serena won all four Grand Slam tournaments at least three times each, a total of 23 times! But, it’s mentally and physically hard to be excellent. You’ve got to get up in the morning. You’ve got to work out. You’ve got to practice. To get attention, it’s easier to …

(2) Show your ass

Naomi tried.

But to get attention, it’s easier to …

(3) Be infamous

Like refusing to show up to required post-match press conferences at the French Open. Not showing up for press actually got Naomi more press! But to get attention, it’s easier to …

(4) Be a victim 

We now live in a world where the emergency room is filled with crybabies with paper cuts. Naomi gets paid millions of dollars in endorsements to hit a fuzzy ball over a net in posh surroundings. She resides in an $8.6 million (1.27 billion yen) home in a leafy, idyllic neighborhood in Los Angeles. She’s has earned over $450 million in her career, putting her in the top 0.01% of all earners. And she claims to be a victim?

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Congrats to Naomi! Good to see her competing again.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )


5--write goofy mash up of what a comedian said and the unrelated case of the worlds highest paid woman athlete winning a few grand prize money for an early round tennis match. Are you sure you are not showing your ass more than Ms. Osaka?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Fighto!: "Congrats to Naomi! Good to see her competing again."

She's been competing again for months now. I think this is just her first win... or maybe second. So now every win is going to be avenging another loss, or something. I just hope she does her best.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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