Australian Open 2022: Defending champion Naomi Osaka overcomes Camila Osorio in opener

Naomi Osaka needed to save two break points to hold serve for the first set and faced two more in the second stanza before overpowering the inexperienced world number 50 with her aggressive shots from the baseline. 

Australian Open 2022: Defending champion Naomi Osaka overcomes Camila Osorio in opener

Defending champion Naomi Osaka overcame an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Colombian Camila Osorio to reach the second round of the Australian Open 6-3, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena on Monday (January 17). The Japanese former world number one looked all business as she raced to a 5-0 lead in the opening set but a first hold of serve invigorated Osorio, who then started chasing down everything Osaka threw at her.

Osaka needed to save two break points to hold serve for the first set and faced two more in the second stanza before overpowering the inexperienced world number 50 with her aggressive shots from the baseline. “It always feels special to come back here,” said the 13th seed, who will next face Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle as she seeks her third Melbourne Park title.

“I thought she played amazing. Overall I’m just happy to be here, I’m happy to see everybody in the audience and I hope we gave you a great performance.”

In other matches, No. 17 seed Gael Monfils from France moved into the second round of men’s singles with a comfortable 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over unseeded Federico Coria of Argentina. Monfils’ wife and No. 15 seed Elina Svitolina also entered the second round with a hard-fought 6-1, 7-6 (4) win over Fiona Ferro.

No. 30 seed Camila Giorgi posted the first win of the Australian Open 2022, easing past Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-4, 6-0. In the men’s draw, 31st-seeded teenager Carlos Alcaraz Garfia of Spain defeated Alejandro Tabilo 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Novak Djokovic arrives in Dubai after deportation from Australia

Novak Djokovic arrived early Monday in Dubai after his deportation from Australia over its required COVID-19 vaccination ended the No. 1-ranked men’s tennis player’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title. The Emirates plane carrying Djokovic touched down after a 13 1/2-hour flight from Melbourne, where he had argued in court he should be allowed to stay in the country and compete in the tournament under a medical exemption due to a coronavirus infection last month.

It wasn’t immediately clear where he planned to travel next. The Dubai Duty Free tennis tournament, which Djokovic won in 2020, doesn’t start until February 14.

Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, doesn’t require travellers to be vaccinated, though they must show a negative PCR test to board a flight. Djokovic had won nine Australian Open titles, including three in a row, and a total of 20 Grand Slam singles trophies, tied with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most in the history of men's tennis. Federer is not playing while recovering from injury, and Nadal is the only former Australian Open men's champion in the tournament that began Monday.

(with agency inputs)

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