FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Women's Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia January 26, 2019. Japan's Naomi Osaka in action during the game against Czech Petra Kvitova. REUTERS / Aly Song / File Photo
(Reuters) – Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka started her 2020 season with a 6: 2: 6: 7 (4: 6: 3) win over Maria Sakkari in the opening round of Brisbane International on Tuesday.
Osaka shot 16 aces and broke her Greek opponent four times in two hours and seven minutes, but fought in the second set tie when Sakkari won five points in a row before defeating the match due to a casual Japanese mistake.
The couple exchanged breaks in the opening stages of the final before the world's former number 1, Osaka, won, despite having failed twice on their first match point.
"I knew it was going to be a very difficult game," said number four in the world, Osaka. “I think I complained a lot during the tie break, especially in the second set. I was just trying to calm down and stay positive. "
Former US Open winner Sloane Stephens, 24th in the WTA classification, fell on the first hurdle on Liudmila Samsonova, which is more than 100 places below her. The Russian with the 129th place won 6-4 2-6 6-3.
Samsonova next meets former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who overcame a slow start and lost 12 of the last 13 games against another Russian in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2: 6: 1: 6: 0.
Wildcard Maria Sharapova, who played her first game since her defeat in the first round of last year's US Open, was beaten 3: 6 6: 1 7: 6 (3) by Jennifer Brady.
American qualifiers will face Ash Barty in the second round.
The eighth seeded Madison Keys won 6: 3: 6: 2 against the Czech Marie Bouzkova.
Reporting by Rohith Nair and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge