Australian Open Naomi Osaka: After Serena Williams powered on to the third round at the Australian Open, third-seeded Naomi Osaka followed the path and beat another difficult opponent on Wednesday. She outsmarted former top-five player Caroline Garcia in a game 6-2, 6-3.
Previously, she bested Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a three-time quarterfinalist at Melbourne Park, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round. She is now celebrating a winning streak of 16 matches.
Australian Open Naomi Osaka:
Williams, on the other hand, is inspired now more than ever, to achieve a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title.
Williams grabbed the last seven games to beat 99th-ranked Nina Stojanovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-0. The 39-year-old American has won the title in Australia seven times.
The reigning US Open champion, Osaka had earlier pulled out of the Australian Open warm-up tournaments, revealing that she was suffering from a “nagging” injury. Along with her, two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka had also pulled out, joining Serena Williams and Simona Halep with injury concerns.
The Australian Open favourite Osaka is seeking a fourth Grand Slam title. The Japanese national has won a total of six titles in her career.
The former World No.1, who won the Australian Open in 2019, was the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles. Osaka won her last major and second US Open in 2020, arriving for each of her matches wearing a face mask with the name of different American citizens who reportedly died due to racial injustice.
She held the title of the Highest-Paid Female Athlete by Forbes last year. Off the court, she has been protesting against racial injustice and the death of Breonna Taylor, an African-American who was shot dead by cops last year in May, and also the death of George Floyd. She was also adjudged Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year.
Feature Image Credit: Skysports