Naomi Osaka confessed to a serious case of nerves, but did not let them bother her in a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Alize Cornet on Tuesday at the Gippsland Trophy event in Melbourne.
Japan’s world No. 3 extended her win streak to a dozen matches; she won the US Open in September after handing in a walkover to Victoria Azarenka in the Cincinnati final, also played at Flushing Meadows due to COVID-19.
Osaka said she did it tough against France’s Cornet: “Actually I was nervous the entire match.
“There were moments where it was less and there were moments where it was more. I felt really, really nervous just going, like walking onto the court.
“Even until the very last point, I think I was just thinking — the first match you come back and especially in a Grand Slam environment, it’s definitely very hard.”
The three-time Grand Slam titleholder won the trophy in 2019. Osaka said she”s returning to her Australian comfort zone.
“I have a lot of really good memories here. The excitement level is very high.
“I’m trying just to take it one day at a time because I know that we’re not at the Grand Slam yet. I’m playing the event before that, and for me I think it’s really important just to focus for every match.”