MELBOURNE (REUTERS, AFP) – Defending champion Naomi Osaka overcame a second-set blip to beat American Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-4 and reach the third round of the Australian Open, staying on course for a potential fourth-round clash with world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty.
The Japanese 24-year-old, who also won the Melbourne Park title in 2019, will next meet 60th-ranked American Amanda Anisimova with a mouth-watering clash against Australian Barty potentially waiting in the round of 16.
Said Osaka: “I’m just trying to take it one day at a time.
“The goal for me is just to have fun and I’m really grateful to my team because I feel we are accomplishing that.
“I returned pretty well today,” she added. “I’ve been really working on it during the off-season so glad it came in handy.”
Brengle won just nine points in the first set as an aggressive Osaka served superbly, facing no break points, and returned strong to breeze through the set in just 20 minutes.
The 54th-ranked Brengle, 31, had a big smile as the Rod Laver Arena crowd cheered her first service game win at the start of the second set as Osaka’s game dipped.
But the two-time US Open winner soon regained control and sealed the win after 65 minutes on her first match point with a second break of serve in the set.