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Naomi Osaka opens Madrid campaign in style

The Japanese will meet either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Sar Sorribes Tormo in round two

Naomi Osaka Madrid 2022 Zuma/Panoramic

Former world No 1 Naomi Osaka began her quest for a first title of the year – and a first title on clay – with a confident 6-3, 6-1 win over Anastasia Potova in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open on Friday.

The four-time US Open champion, who last year pulled out after round one of the French Open with mental health issues, looked right at home as she marched to a convincing victory over world No 78 Potova, who came into the match on a nine-match clay-court winning streak.

“I wouldn’t say it was an easy match. I feel like I just adjusted a little bit. (It’s about) just gaining confidence and feeling more comfortable on clay.”

She’ll play either last year’s French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain in round two.

Osaka said he had set herself a couple of smaller goals, eyeing up a place in the semi-finals of Madrid or Rome and also said she had a couple of surprises up her sleeve.

There were no obvious signs of anything new but the strong points of the 24-year-old’s game were in sync as she recovered from an early break down in the opening set to pull away from Potova.

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