Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her third round match against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur on February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy
MELBOURNE—Naomi Osaka swept into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur in front of one of the last crowds allowed before Melbourne Park goes into lockdown.
The Japanese third seed pounded down eight aces as she dominated her first career contest against the Tunisian world number 30 to set up a meeting with Spain’s twice Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza.
“Thanks for coming out, it’s so great to play in front you,” Osaka said to the crowd on John Cain Arena before asking for, and receiving, a rendition of the local sporting chant “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!”.
Such interactions will be impossible for five days from midnight on Friday after the state government announced a strict lockdown to try and contain an outbreak of COVID-19 in Melbourne.
U.S. Open champion Osaka said she had been wary of Jabeur’s drop shot but dealt comfortably enough with her opponent to extend her winning streak to 17 matches.
Osaka, who won her second Grand Slam title in Melbourne in 2019, was forced to pause in the second set when a butterfly fluttered into her face and she moved it to the side of the court with her racket.
She saved six of seven break points she faced and hit winners off both wings, serving out to love to reach the last 16 at Melbourne Park for the third time after 78 minutes.
For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.