Naomi Osaka is quietly finding her game at the 2024 Miami Open

Osaka will be tested by a tricky opponent in the third round

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Don't look now, but vintage Naomi Osaka is starting to come back. While the tennis world has focused on the top-ranked players who won titles so far in 2024, Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, and Elena Rybakina, Osaka has been working hard to regain her form.

The solid forehand, backhand, and blistering serve are getting more consistent, especially at the Miami Open. In the "Battle of the Moms" in the second round, Osaka defeated Elina Svitolina in straight sets. Svitolina is a tough competitor who put up a formidable challenge at the end of the second set to force a tiebreaker. Still, Osaka regrouped, kept her body language positive, and persevered.

Osaka will get a good measuring stick for her progress in the third round. She faces Caroline Garcia who defeated her in straight sets in the first round of January's Australian Open.

Osaka's draw could get even more interesting

If Osaka is able to avenge that Australian Open loss, she could face Coco Gauff in the Round of 16. Gauff plays Oceane Dodin in her third round match on Sunday.

Osaka, who gave birth to her daughter in July, was criticized by Martina Navratilova when she rejoined the WTA Tour in January about her match fitness. Both Garcia and Gauff (should they meet in the Round of 16) will test that match fitness; Osaka's footwork, serving, and shotmaking need to be on point to win.

Osaka continues to show a different attitude on and off the court. She is more gracious with the fans, more articulate with the press, and she genuinely seems at peace with her life as a mother and her quest to return to professional tennis. Win or lose in Miami, she seems to be embracing the challenge of her return and enjoying the journey.

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