Nature Valley Classic Edgbaston Birmingham Tuesday 18th June 2019
Number 1 seed Naomi Osaka opened up her grass court season with a three sets defeat of Maria Sakkari in the first round of the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
The World No 1’s previous encounters with Sakkari have both been on hard court surfaces back in 2018 when she defeated the Greek player at Indian Wells and Cincinnati.
In a match that lasted almost 2 hours, it was the Japanese girl who dominated the opening set by taking it 6-1 in just 27 minutes. Despite holding on to her opening service game it was Osaka who reeled in six games in a row. The world number 33 Sakkari was really struggling in the opening set, especially on her serve after no less than five double faults.
A high quality second set was won by Sakkari 6-4 to take the match in to a final set decider.
At two games all Sakkari had a glorious chance to break Osaki, with the Japanese girl fending off six break points to take the fifth game. She then immediately broke Sakkari to lead 4-2. Although Sakkari forced Osaka to serve for the match, the World Number 1 reeled of the final four points to set up a second-round meeting with Yulita Putintseva, who earlier beat Britain’s Harriet Dark in straight sets 6-1,6-4.
Steady drizzle then started to fall which eventually turned to heavier rain with play eventually being called of for the day at 6.30.