Osaka earns breakthrough milestone in Doha

FORMER world number one Naomi Osaka earned back-to-back victories on the WTA Tour for the first time in almost two years overnight, defeating another former top 15 player in Petra Martic, 6-3 7-6. The Japanese star missed all of 2023 after giving birth to her daughter Shai, but is now into the Round of 16 at the WTA 1000 Qatar Open in Doha.

Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion, and though her return to the Tour has been tough – copping multiple top 10 talents in her early tournaments – the Japanese wildcard was able to fight through a tough contest against Martic to book her place in the third round. The win came after she defeated Dane, Caroline Wozniacki in the Round of 64, reversing the result between the pair from the Australian Open.

While Osaka is getting better with every match, there is still plenty of improvement to come, having had the chance to serve out the match at 6-3 5-4, before being broken. Martic sent the contest to a tiebreaker, where Osaka was on the back foot for the most part, saving four set points before finally saluting 11-9 for a 6-3 7-6 result.

Osaka served seven aces for four double faults, and won a strong 78 per cent of her first serve points, as well as collecting on 52 per cent of her second serve points. She broke three times to two, generating eight chances upon return, and won a promising 42 per cent of points when Martic was serving. In the end only 11 points separated the pair, with Osaka advancing through to the third round.

The wildcard will take on Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko who shocked the out-of-sorts Ons Jabeur in straight sets 6-3 6-2, with the fourth seed starting 2024 with a 2-3 win-loss record. Tsurenko only needed 82 minutes to get past the Tunisian, winning 67 and 63 per cent of her first and second serve points, while Tsurenko only won 31 per cent off her second serve.

Incredibly, Tsurenko reeled off nine games straight after being 1-3 down in the first set to go to a 6-3 4-0 lead in the match. Jabeur admitted she was still impacted by knee issues, and while she was feeling better, she was far from 100 per cent.

The pair are in an open quarter of the draw, with Czech duo Karolina Pliskova and Linda Noskova making it through to the Round of 16. There is 12 years separating the experienced Pliskova from the teenage Noskova, with the latter coming from behind for another huge upset this season, defeating seventh seeded Greek talent Maria Sakkari, 3-6 7-6 7-5, while Pliskova moved past Anastasia Potapova 6-1 5-7 6-4.

The biggest upset of the second round was that of Katerina Siniakova over Coco Gauff. The world number 42 proved too good for the Australian Open semi-finalist, smashing her 6-2 6-4 after a straight sets victory over Croatian Donna Vekic in the first round. The world number three had no answers for the impressive Czech as Siniakova won 62 per cent of her first serve point and broke six times to three.

Siniakova will go on to play qualifier Danielle Collins who continued her strong form in what will be her final WTA Tour season, defeating tricky Czech Marie Bouzkova after a first round defeat of 13th seed, Veronika Kudermetova.

In other results, former US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez bounced back from a bagel first set against former top five talent Paula Badosa to win 0-6 6-2 6-3 and face Australian Open finalist and fifth seed Qinwen Zheng in the Round of 16.

Also getting through to the next round are Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko, who will face off for the third time this year. Azarenka won both previous clashes in 2024, with a three-set win in Brisbane, and a straight sets victory in the Australian Open.

Top seed Iga Swiatek takes on Ekaterina Alexandrova in another Round of 16 match, while Abu Dhabi champion and third seed Elena Rybakina will face American 16th seed, Emma Navarro. Czech sixth seed Marketa Vondrousova locks horns with Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the other Round of 16 match.


[1] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-1 6-1
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated [2] Coco Gauff (USA) 6-2 6-4
[3] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Lin Zhu (CHN) 6-2 6-1
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) defeated [4] Ons Jabeur (TUN) 6-3 6-2
[5] Qinwen Zheng (CHN) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 6-2 2-6 6-3
[6] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated [Q] Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-2 0-6 6-4
Linda Noskova (CZE) defeated [7] Maria Sakkari (GRE) 3-6 7-6 7-5
[8] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 6-0 6-3
[14] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated [Q] Erika Andreeva (RUS) 6-0 3-6 6-1
[16] Emma Navarro (USA) defeated Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-1 6-3
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Xinyu Wang (CHN) 7-6 6-2
Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Petra Martic (CRO) 6-3 7-6
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-1 5-7 6-4
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated [WC] Paula Badosa (ESP) 0-6 6-2 6-3
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 2-1 RET
[Q] Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-4 7-5

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments