Naomi Osaka vs. Kristina Mladenovic
|Date & Time||Saturday March 9, 2019, 3:00 PM (EST)|
Indian Wells Tennis Garden
Indian Wells, California
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Naomi Osaka and Kristina Mladenovic meet in the second round of the 2019 tennis Indian Wells.
Naomi Osaka is coming off an early exit in Dubai and now has a new coach in Jermaine Jenkins, who was once a hitting partner with Venus Williams in 2015. Osaka is the defending champion of this tournament and just won her second grand slam, but you have to question the impact of changing coaches is going to have on her game. Osaka is coming off a brutal loss to Kristina Mladenovic, a match in which she got just 45 percent of her serves in play. Maybe it was just a hiccup that every player experiences throughout the season, or maybe the distractions are taking its toll. Either way, this match could give us more answers to where Osaka is with her game. Osaka has won nine of her last 11 matches on outdoor hard court.
Kristina Mladenovic is coming off a straight sets win over Saisai Zheng that took 20 games to decide. In the victory, Mladenovic won 60 percent of her first serve points and 59 percent of her second serve points. Mladenovic won 60 percent of her total service points and converted on six of her 11 break points. Mladenovic entered this tournament losing seven of her last nine matches, so a straight sets win has to feel good. Mladenovic has to be sharper with her serve moving forward, but giving herself double-digit break points provides hope heading into this contest. Mladenovic has 13 career wins over top-10 players, which includes two wins since 2018. Mladenovic has won three of her last five matches on outdoor hard court.
These two have split the previous two matches, as Mladenovic won in Dubai of this year and Osaka won in Dubai of 2018. Both matches were decided in straight sets.
This is an exciting match considering Osaka just lost to Mladenovic, and she’s playing her again the very next time she takes the court. While giving credit to Mladenovic, I’m going to chalk up Osaka’s performance to off the court distractions with her coach. We haven’t seen Osaka struggle with her serve in a very long time. She clearly wasn’t her old self.
I expect Osaka to come out firing on all cylinders, cruising to a victory, likely in straight sets.