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MX News Update 2024


Osaka beats Kostyuk in Rome and records first Top 20 victory on clay

ROME – Naomi Osaka earned the first Top 20 victory on clay of her career on Thursday after beating No. 20 Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. A day after her outright victory over France’s Clara Burel, this is the first time since 2019 that Osaka has recorded consecutive victories on clay.

Osaka will face 10th seed Daria Kasatkina in the third round. It will be the first meeting between the two since the 2018 Indian Wells final, which Osaka won 6-3, 6-2 to capture her first Hologic WTA Tour title.

Osaka blew through the opening 36-minute frame with a remarkably clean display of tennis. She hit six winners to eight unforced errors and took advantage of Kostyuk’s errors. The Ukrainian has been in consistently good form this season, having reached two WTA 500 finals three weeks ago, including the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

But Kostyuk struggled to find her range throughout the match. She served only 40 percent in the opening set and hit five winners to fifteen unforced errors, including five double faults.

Rain suspended play, with Osaka looking at a break point opportunity, while Kostyuk served at 3-1 in the second set. When play resumed, the four-time major champion showed no signs of slowing down. She broke serve with a laser-like inside-out forehand to lead 4-1 and closed the 71 minute with a barrage of heavy, accurate baseline strokes.

Osaka finished the match with 19 winners and 12 unforced errors.

More to follow…