The 2019 Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka is through to the second round with a comfortable 6-1 6-2 win over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in one hour and eight minutes.
Osaka pulled out of the semi-final of the Gippsland Trophy with a shoulder niggle but showed no sign of injury in front of a smattering of spectators in the centre court terraces.
The Japanese third seed went into the opener on a 14-match winning streak dating back to February 2020. Eurosport's Mats Wilander expected pre-match for Pavlyuchenkova to be "tough" but the 23-year-old got off to a great start.
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The first set lasted 33 minutes as Osaka dominated on her serve as the experienced Pavlyuchenkova made plenty of unforced errors.
Highlights: Osaka gives up just three games against Pavlyuchenkova
The second set was a slightly closer affair as Pavlyuchenkova played with more power and variety, but Osaka’s quality shone through. The Japanese player broke with a brilliant passing shot to go 2-1 up and never looked back, breaking again at 4-2 before securing the straight sets victory on her first match point.
Osaka will now face Caroline Garcia in the second round after she beat Polona Hercog in straight sets.
OSAKA: I'M HERE TO HAVE FUN
'I'm just here to have fun' - Osaka after beating Pavlyuchenkova
“I was really nervous coming into the match," Osaka said post-match.
"I know I played her before and it was really tough. I just wanted to play well and thank everyone for coming. I’m really happy to see people in the stands. It’s been a bit lonely in New York so thank you guys.
"Here hopefully I do well but I’m just here to have fun.
“Physically I feel like everyone has had their body shocked coming in and playing matches suddenly after such a long break. I think we’re all getting used to it and everyone is just really happy to be here.”
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