Naomi Osaka Wins in Indian Wells Return

Naomi Osaka Wins in Indian Wells Return

Naomi Osaka’s triumphant return to the BNP Paribas Open continued on Thursday as she defeated Sara Errani in straight sets to reach the second round. The former world No. 1, who is playing her fifth tournament since giving birth to daughter Shai last year, is starting to find her form after a 16-month break.

Osaka, who arrived at Indian Wells unseeded, started slowly against Errani, a former world No. 5. The Italian twice led by a break in the opening set, but Osaka soon found her rhythm and reeled off four straight games to take the set.

Errani continued to push in the second set, but Osaka was too strong and broke serve three times to win the set 6-1. The match lasted just one hour and nine minutes, with Osaka hitting seven aces and breaking serve five times.

Up next for Osaka is No. 14 seed Liudmila Samsonova, who received a bye into the second round. The two will be facing off for the first time, with Samsonova having enjoyed a similarly up-and-down start to her 2024 season.

Osaka’s victory is a sign that she is starting to return to her best form. The 26-year-old is a four-time Grand Slam champion and is one of the most marketable athletes in the world. Her return to the top of the game would be a major boost for women’s tennis.