Osaka grinds out opening win on grass

AFP
Naomi Osaka is through to round two of the Birmingham Classic (AFP Photo/Martin BUREAU)
Naomi Osaka is through to round two of the Birmingham Classic (AFP Photo/Martin BUREAU)

Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - World number one Naomi Osaka progressed to round two of the Birmingham Classic on Tuesday, but was made to work for a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Greece's Maria Sakkari.

Osaka admitted in her pre-tournament press conference that she still does not feel comfortable on grass.

However, she got off to a flying start in her first match since losing in the third round of the French Open.

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Osaka broke the Sakkari serve three times in romping through the first set.

The world number 33 fought back in the second to take the match to a deciding set.

Osaka needed to stave off five break points in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead but then pounced immediately for the only break in the final set.

Yulia Putintseva will face Osaka in round two after easing past Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-4.

Former French Open champion Jeļena Ostapenko set up a second round clash with Britain's Johanna Konta with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Iga Swiatek.

World number three Karolina Pliskova will face her twin sister Kristyna Pliskova in the next round after the latter beat Viktoriya Tomova 6-3, 6-4.

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