Jittery Naomi Osaka put her recent psychological demons to the side, with the second seed at the Cincinnati Masters calmly dissecting the game of Coco Gauff 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday.
The fragile second seed whose aversion to obligatory post-match media conferences caused her to quit Roland Garros and avoid Wimbledon due to psychological stress, approached her second round opener against Gauff with precision and logic.
“The first set was an experiment, I was trying to see what was going on as I’ve not played that many matches,” the four-time Grand Slam champion from Japan said.
“I was just examining here and trying to stay calm, trying to keep a level head.”
The winner added: “She’s not my favourite to play, it’s very straining mentally.
But this is a win I can definitely congratulate myself for.”
Osaka will now play Jil Teichmann after the Swiss outclassed American Bernarda Pera 6-1, 6-4.
Top seed Ash Barty got into winning rhythm as the Australian played her opening match after a bye, defeating Heather Watson 6-4, 7-6(3); the Brit now stands 0-4 in her career against world No. 1 opponents..
After skipping Montreal last week to rest and prepare, Barty is keen.
“I feel good, I feel ready to play,” the WTA No.1 said. “I’m as close to 100 percent as you can be.
“It’s exciting playing here knowing that we will soon move onto New York.”
The Australian said that the first day of pure sunshine this week ,made for different conditions.
“Serve was a massive part of the match for both of us,” she said. “It takes time to adjust to the new balls and the court.
“You have to get used to what is happening, play around, find out what will be suitable.”
Four former Grand Slam champions reached the third round , with Angelique Kerber eliminating Elina Svitolina 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.
Victoria Azarenka beat Alison Riske 6-2, 7-5, Petra Kvitova defeated Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 6-4 while Jelena Ostapenko advanced 6-76 (2), 5-4 when Jennifer Brady retired.
2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu broke the mold with a loss, going down to Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-2 in the second round.
Main photo:- Naomi Osaka beating Coco Gauff in Cincinnati © WTATennis.com