After beginning her American hard-court tour with a victory, Naomi Osaka claimed she never lacks confidence in three-set matches. Osaka defeated Zheng Qinwen on Tuesday at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in three sets, 6-4 3-6 6-1.
Osaka was competing in her first game in two months after skipping the entire grass season in the wake of an early exit from the French Open. According to the WTA website, after the victory, Osaka said, “I have a lot of trust in myself in third sets.”
“I’m not sure if it was subconscious, but I seem to recall thinking that it would be difficult for her to break me. Because when I challenged the final ball in the game in which I did lose, I learned a lot. I believe my extensive experience is one advantage I have over her.
It would be interesting to see how she develops since I have clearly played more matches than she has.”
Osaka advances to the round of 16 in San Jose.
Zheng squandered two break points in the second game despite having the opening break points of the match.
Osaka broke the tie in the third game after fending off two break opportunities. Zheng had a chance to break Osaka in the fourth game, but the Japanese player survived a break point to take a 3-1 lead. Osaka consistently served out for the opener in the 10th game, denying Zheng any break points for the remainder of the set.
Zheng recovered after dropping the first set, earning the first break of the second to take a 5-3 lead in the eighth game. Zheng won the next game by serving out to take the second set and force a tiebreaker.
Osaka showed great resiliency by beginning the third set with back-to-back breaks and a 5-0 advantage after losing the second set. Osaka served out the final game to secure a three-set triumph. Osaka will now face 2022 French Open finalist Cori Gauff, which will be a very challenging test for her.