Naomi Osaka wins over Sloane Stephens in her Indian Wells opening round match. This is her first match since the Australian Open and her first match in the desert since 2019. The 2018 champion rallied in three sets, winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. 

Osaka rallied to gain a 3-1 lead in the first set after Stephens went up a break early. However, she could not hold on to that lead as Stephens took the set six games to three. The Japanese looked more focused in the second, racing to a 4-0 lead courtesy of a double break. Naomi Osaka faced a pair of breakpoints, trailing by two games in the third set. Saving those breakpoints gave Osaka the boost she needed to close out the match and advance on a gusty Stadium Court at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

“I felt like I was fighting for my life. I was playing against the wind. It was crazy. I just kept thinking she was going through the same circumstances as me, so I just had to will myself to try as hard as I could.” Osaka said at her post-match interview.

The 24-year-old moves to round two to set up a meeting with Veronika Kudermetova.

READ ALSO: Chelsea’s Main Shirt Sponsors Suspend Deal With The Blues


Other first-round winners include Anisimova who took out Emma Navarro convincingly. Garcia Caroline against Lyon finalist, Dayana Yastremska. Over at the men’s draw, Nick Kyrgios, a wild card entry defeated Sebastian Baez 6-4, 6-0.