Osaka vs. Serena
|Date & Time||Tuesday March 20, 2018, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream live sports and ESPN originals on-demand on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka meet in the first round of the 2018 Miami Open.
Serena Williams is coming off a third round exit in the Indian Wells Masters and has just three matches under her belt this season. Serena did win both matches in back-to-back sets, including a win over a top-40 player in Kiki Bertens, but she clearly has some rust to knockoff if she hopes to return to being the top player in the world. In her loss to Venus Williams, Serena won just 53 percent of her first serve points, a percentage that we’re not used to seeing. Serena was also broken four times in the losing effort. Serena has never lost before the fourth round of the Miami Open. Serena has won 10 of her last 11 matches on hard court.
Naomi Osaka is fresh off winning her first ever WTA title in the Indian Wells Masters and hopes to continue climbing up the rankings. Now ranked 22nd in the world, it’s going to be interesting to see how the 20-year-old handles everything that comes with being considered one of the best in the sport. There’s now expectations for Osaka, and this is all new and happening so quickly. This is also a quick turnaround for Osaka, who won her title on Sunday and is now being thrown into a new tournament against somebody she probably looked up to. It’s worth watching how Osaka deals with this and if she’s able to control her nerves. Osaka does have 19 career wins over top-10 players. Osaka has won 10 of her last 12 matches on hard court.
This will be the first time these two meet on the tennis court.
This is an intriguing match for obvious reasons. Can Osaka put winning a title being her and refocus in such a short time? Is Serena ready to compete with one of the hottest players on tour? This is going to be a fun match. As for who wins, I can’t bet against Osaka in her current form. She’s hitting the ball with great pace, has the power to move Serena and just showed that she may in fact be ahead of the curve here. I can’t pick Serena against quality competition until I know she’s knocked considerable rust off.
Give me Osaka.