STANFORD, CALIFORNIA – Japan’s Naomi Osaka claimed her first WTA victory, when she survived a match point to beat former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur in three sets in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic on Monday.
The 16-year-old Osaka is ranked 400th in the world and advanced through qualifying to reach the main draw at Stanford University.
She won three straight points to win the second-set tiebreaker and rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the third to win 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5 over the Australian, who is ranked 19th in the world.
“I don’t know anyone who goes into a match thinking they don’t deserve to be here, and I think I do deserve to be here,” said Osaka, whose father is American and who, according to the Japan Tennis Association, moved to the United States in 2001.
“It’s probably the second best win of my life. The first being when I first beat my sister.”
Her second-round opponent will be Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, the No. 8 seed here who is currently ranked 18th and has four WTA tournament victories on her resume.
The match was Osaka’s second in a WTA main draw. She made her debut in June in El Paso, Texas, but lost 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).
According to the Japan Tennis Association, Osaka currently lives in the United States and has not registered with the JTA.
At the other end of the age spectrum, 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm lost her first-round match to Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3.
Nara beats seeded Keys
Washington — Japan’s top women’s player, Kurumi Nara, knocked off seventh-seeded American Madison Keys on Monday in the first round of the Citi Open.
Nara, ranked 40th in the world, played a solid match in beating the big-hitting 27th-ranked 19-year-old 7-5, 6-3 at the U.S. Open warmup event. Although Keys was able to overpower Nara on some points, it didn’t faze the 22-year-old Japanese.
“If you win, it means you minimize your mistakes,” Nara said. “I was able to be very consistent in doing that.
“When my opponent played well, she was able to take points off me, but I stayed positive and shook it off.”
Nara kept hanging in there. Leading 6-5 in the first set, she forced an error to win the set on a service break. She did the same leading 4-3 in the second set and then served out for the victory.
“Right now I am moving well and not hesitating,” Nara said.
She will be joined in the second round by compatriot Hiroko Kuwata, who won her first career WTA match after advancing through qualifying. Kuwata, the world No. 200, defeated Alison Riske of the United States 6-0, 7-5. Riske is currently ranked 46th in the world.
In the Washington tournament’s men’s draw, Yuichi Sugita crashed out in the first round, the 131st-ranked Japanese falling to 73rd-ranked American left-hander Donald Young 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Japan ace Kei Nishikori, the men’s fourth seed, has a first-round bye.