Osaka sweeps past Cocciaretto; Rogers beats Fruhirtova in Miami

Florida, March 21 (IANS) A four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka swept past Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-4, 6-3 on her return to the Magic City after maternity leave to reach the second round at Miami Open.

She took just 1 hour and 18 minutes to defeat World No.51 Cocciaretto on Wednesday. In seven appearances at the Miami Open Osaka has never lost an opening match.

The Japanese last played the Miami Open in 2022, where she beat Angelique Kerber, Danielle Collins and Belinda Bencic before finishing runner-up to Iga Swiatek. At the end of that year, Osaka began her maternity leave, and she gave birth to daughter Shai in July 2023.

Osaka returned to the tour this season, so far, her best result was reaching the quarterfinals at Doha.

The 26-year-old will now have a second-round showdown against another returning mom, No.15 seed Elina Svitolina. The Ukrainian came back from her own maternity leave less than a year ago and is already back inside the Top 20.

Later, American Shelby Rogers outlasted Czech teenager Linda Fruhirtova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in first-round action.

Rogers was sidelined for the second half of 2023 after Wimbledon as she underwent a second career knee surgery in the summer. She lost to Emma Raducanu in the first round of the Australian Open in her return to the tour this year, WTA reports.

The American will next face 2021 Roland Garros finalist and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second-round.

Earlier in the day, the opening Stadium match had Florida native Sloane Stephens celebrating her 31st birthday by defeating 6-2, 6-3 German Angelique Kerber, another former WTA No.1, who is coming back after giving birth to her daughter just over one year ago.

Sorana Cirstea of Romania will be Stephens’ second-round opponent.



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