Naomi Osaka Returns With Bang! Secures Victory At Brisbane After Maternity Leave And Mental Health Break

by Gee NY

In a highly anticipated return to the tennis court, former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka secured a victory at the Brisbane International on Monday, Jan 1.

The four-time grand slam champion defeated Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch 6-3 7-6 (11-9) in the first round, marking her comeback after prioritizing mental health and becoming a mother in July.

Osaka’s last competitive match was at the 2022 Pan Pacific Open in Japan, where she withdrew due to abdominal pain. Despite initial expectations of participating in the 2023 Australian Open, Osaka withdrew from the tournament upon announcing her pregnancy.

Unranked after a 15-month hiatus, Osaka displayed a powerful performance, hitting 36 winners to 21 unforced errors in the match. Her formidable serve and composed play contributed to a straight-sets victory, holding Korpatsch to 13 winners.

Reflecting on her return, Osaka expressed gratitude for the support, stating:

“I just really appreciate people coming out and knowing me and cheering for me.”

She acknowledged her growth since the last time she played, emphasizing her desire to reciprocate the love received from fans.

The match saw a challenging second set, with both players exchanging breaks and leading to a tiebreak. Osaka faced a dramatic conclusion, squandering two match points before sealing the victory on the third attempt with a forehand winner.

Proud of her performance, Osaka shared her reflections, saying:

“Looking back on the match now, honestly I’m very proud of myself. I feel like I played at a pretty good level. I think my opponent played really well. Honestly, all I can think of is, like, the consistent nerves that I had. So just getting through that really tough match and hopefully building on it.”

Osaka, aged 26, is set to face Karolína Plíšková in the second round, promising an exciting match between two former world No. 1 players.

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