“I think I definitely feel a lot more confident leaving than when I came”: Naomi Osaka's confidence grows after Madrid

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 at 01:00
Naomi Osaka was eliminated in the Round of 16 of the Rome Open against world No. 8 Qinwen Zheng by 6-2, 6-4. The former world No. 1 commented that she exits filled with confidence despite the defeat, after securing her first two victories over top-20 players on clay courts.
The Japanese player has had several good performances since her return to the WTA Tour at the beginning of the year. Osaka had always struggled in clay tournaments, but in Rome, she began to show that she can compete with the best on clay. The World No. 173 defeated Marta Kostyuk (No. 19) and Daria Kasatkina (No. 11) consecutively in Rome, both in straight sets.

Renewed confidence for Osaka ahead of the French Open

The 4-times Grand Slam champion has never advanced past the third round at Roland Garros, and her last victory there was in 2021. However, her good week in Rome gives Osaka good feelings before playing the second Grand Slam of the year: “I’m pretty happy that I was able to play this match because I will learn a lot from it. I’ll learn that the level’s not that different. It’s kind of just more key moments I would say, staying mentally very resilient in myself and my abilities.”
“I think I definitely feel a lot more confident leaving than when I came,” explained Osaka. “I hope that I can learn a lot from the match I played today and apply it and do really well in Paris,” she added.
Osaka holds a record of 12-9 in 2024 and is guaranteed to appear as world No. 135 in the next update of the WTA Ranking once the Italian Open is finished. The Japanese player is rapidly approaching the top 100, and a couple of victories in the French Open will allow her to return to the elite group.

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