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  • Naomi Osaka Cruises Through First Round Italian Open Match

Naomi Osaka cruises through first-round Italian Open match

Naomi Osaka breezed into the second round of the Italian Open in Rome with a 7-6 (2) 6-1 victory over France's Clara Burel.

Osaka won six successive points in the first-set tie-break before her continued dominance from the baseline helped her close out a one-sided second set.

The Japanese four-time Grand Slam champion took one hour 24 minutes to dispatch world number 45 Burel as she claimed her first victory on clay against an opponent ranked inside the top 50 since 2019.

Osaka, ranked 173 as she continues her return from a maternity break, faces 19th seed Marta Kostyuk in the second round.

"I thought the first set was really tough. I'm really glad I was able to close it in two," Osaka said.

"I knew the shots that I was going for that I missed were good-intentioned. I was just telling myself that was probably a result of nerves and I just have to keep going for my shots and eventually or hopefully they start going in.

"I was up 5-3 and serving for the set and I lost that. Just being able to hang in there and eventually close it on my terms is something that I'm very proud of myself for.

"I obviously played a lot better in the second set. I'm hoping that when I play my match tomorrow (Thursday), I'm able to learn from the mistakes."

Dan Evans' first-round match against Fabio Fognini is being rescheduled for Thursday because of rain.

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