NewsWorldNaomi Osaka prevails in the first round of the...

Naomi Osaka prevails in the first round of the Australian Open; the fight for Rafael Nadal’s record starts perfect

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(CNN) — Reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka said she has been keeping a diary to document how she feels before defending her title.

The 25-year-old couldn’t have hoped for a better script for any possible entry she envisions for January 17, as she won her opening match 6-3 6-3 against Colombia’s Camila Osorio at Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka, seeded 13th in this year’s draw, took a 5-0 lead in the first set before spirited play from the 20-year-old Osorio and some unforced errors allowed her to get into the match. .

The Japanese star finally managed to win the first set. In the second set, Osorio had two early break points but was unable to convert them.

Osaka took a 3-1 lead and Osorio’s missed backhand into the net finally gave Osaka the win to get her title defense off to the perfect start.

Osaka beat Colombia’s Osorio in her debut at the Australian Open

“I think I played pretty well given the circumstances, I didn’t have much information about my opponent,” osaka said in his on-court interview.

He added: “I hope we put in a good performance. It’s always very special for me to come back here. I have a lot of good memories here.”

Osaka will face Madison Brengle in the second round after the American advanced after Dayana Yastremska retired for a 1-6 6-0 0-5 loss.

Earlier this month, Osaka played her first match in four months after taking a break from tennis following a loss to Leylah Fernandez at the US Open. Last year, she also withdrew from the French Open, citing mental health problems, and decided not to participate in Wimbledon.

The four-time Grand Slam champion said she is prioritizing her enjoyment on the court during her stay in Melbourne.

“I can’t expect her to win every game, but I do expect to have fun and challenge myself,” she said. “I’m here because I want to be here and because I find it fun for me. I accept the fact that I’m going to have lows, and I have to find a way to get through them.”

Could this be the year of Nadal?

Like Osaka, Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open couldn’t have started better as the Spaniard embarks on his quest to win what would be a record 21 Grand Slam wins. The Spaniard beat Marcos Girón 6-1 6-4 6-2 in just one hour and 49 minutes to advance to the second round in Melbourne.

In what was his 70th victory in the competition, Nadal continues his fast start to 2022 at Rod Laver Arena.

After missing the end of the 2021 season with a foot injury, Nadal won the Melbourne Summer Set title two weeks ago, his first tournament victory on Australian soil since the Australian Open in 2009.

And the 35-year-old kept up his fine form against Giron, with a dominant 24-minute first set setting the tone.

Nadal continued on the right foot throughout the match, beating Giron, number 66 in the world, without too much trouble.

Nadal is the only former champion left in the draw — with Novak Djokovic deported and Roger Federer injured — meaning he can reach the all-time men’s Grand Slam record if he wins in Melbourne.

The Spaniard highlighted the importance of winning last week in the Summer Set in Melbourne after beating Giron.

“Last week was important for me. I played three matches, I won three matches. I won a title, it’s always nice,” Nadal said.

“And I think I’m doing better and better. You never know what happens, but I’m happy if you tell me that I’m going to be in this position a month ago, of course I would definitely sign the paper (he said smiling).”

“In the beginning (of a comeback), things are going to be tough, of course you won’t have the best feeling sometimes on the court. But staying positive, playing with the right energy and of course being on tour practicing with the boys and win games, it sure helps.

Nadal, seeded sixth, will now face the winner of the match between wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis and qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the second round.

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