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.
Raducanu beats Uchijima to reach second round in Seoul
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.”
The Australian Open is live on Eurosport. Watch every match live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk. You can download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
Osaka ends four-match losing streak after Saville retires due to nasty knee injury
'More down than up' - Osaka opens up on difficult 2022
Share this article