Naomi Osaka showed us some new and old tricks in her first match since August 2022. Osaka defeated German Tamara Korpatsch ranked 84th in the world in straight sets in the first round at Brisbane International, but it was a tough challenge, particularly in the second set.
Osaka displayed her hard-hitting and excellent serving skills in the first set winning 6-3. Korpatsch hung with her in the second set as Osaka served for the match at 5-3 lost serve and fought hard to win in a hard-hitting second set11-9 on her third match point.
She will face Karolina Pliskova in the next round; Pliskova is a tough opponent for Osaka because she has beaten Osaka three out of the five times they have faced each other.
The new Naomi Osaka
Osaka's tennis skills are still there, but what is different about Osaka since giving birth to her daughter Shai is her attitude and demeanor on the court. She was spotted smiling even after making an error. Osaka looked like she was enjoying herself and was smiling while speaking to her box when Korpatsch took a bathroom break between sets.
She has spoken out about enjoying the second act of her tennis career and wanting to do a better job of paying forward the love she has been shown by the fans. A more positive Osaka who is kind to herself even when things are not always going her way on the tennis court is a great change that will help her mentally and physically in her comeback.
In a women's field loaded with talented young players, four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka inserts herself right back in the thick of things as the year kicks off in Australia. We cannot wait to see how she evolves and improves over the season with more match play against her peers including the top-ranked players who were probably also watching this match.