WTA Eastbourne, 2nd Round Preview: Caroline Wozniacki vs. Naomi Osaka

Caroline Wozniacki and Naomi Osaka will meet each other in an enticing second round match at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. While the pair are scheduled fourth on Court 1 on Tuesday, it is very likely the match will not be played due to the weather so hence an opportunity to preview the match!

Osaka won her first match of the week against fellow compatriot, Risa Ozaki, 6-0 6-1 on Court 5. It was Osaka’s second straight set win over Ozaki in 2017. It was only the second time that I have had the pleasure of watching Osaka live and her raw power is pretty breathtaking up close. Most impressive of all is that she was able to control the power and deliver deep and heavy blows at Ozaki’s feet. Osaka was always in control and never looked like losing it as she powered her way to the finish line in just 54 minutes.

After a slow start to her grass court season, beginning with a 1-6 1-6 loss to Kristie Ahn in Nottingham, the Japanese player has seemingly began to find her feet on the grass with a third set tiebreak win over Lauren Davis in Birmingham and then this victory over Ozaki in Eastbourne. Osaka has very little experience on the grass but it’s always a surface that personally, I thought could suit her with time.

This will be Wozniacki’s ninth year at Eastbourne and her first grass court tournament of the year. The Dane has not played a match since the French Open where she went out in three sets to the eventual champion, Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter-finals.

Head-to-head record: In their only previous match-up on tour, Wozniacki beat Osaka in the final of Tokyo last year, 7-5 6-3.

Interesting stat: Osaka reached the final of the $50K tournament in Surbiton back in 2015. However, it wasn’t until this year in Birmingham against Davis when she secured her first ever WTA main draw win on grass.

Final thoughts: This should be a fascinating match, especially after Osaka’s superb first round performance. The Japanese player was surprisingly consistent against Ozaki but will need to maintain that level and then some against Wozniacki. The Dane has had a great year, currently perched at number six in the Race to Singapore, and has, at times, been more willing to go for her shots – she demonstrated this against Svetlana Kuznetsova at Roland Garros in one of her most impressive performances on clay. However, she still has a tendency to go into her shell when faced against a power player, as was the case against Ostapenko at Roland Garros. This will be a classic power player against counter-puncher match-up. It will be interesting to see whether Wozniacki takes some chances with her shotmaking although key to the outcome will be Osaka’s patience and consistency.

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

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