Naomi Osaka’s impressive return to form continued on Thursday after she took just an hour to dispatch 13th-seeded German Angelique Kerber in straight sets and head into the third round of the Miami Open.
The Japanese star, who left Indian Wells in tears earlier this month after being heckled by a fan, looked in great shape as Kerber was beaten 6-2, 6-3 at Hard Rock Stadium.
“She’s the highest seeded player I have beaten this season and I am really happy, ” a delighted Osaka said afterwards.
“I came into the match wanting to dictate and hopefully as I keep playing I will keep getting better.”
Osaka, 24, now faces Karolina Muchova for a place in round four.
Muchova advanced on Thursday with a straight sets defeat of 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.
The unseeded Muchova eliminated the Canadian 18th seed 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
But Osaka looks to be getting back to the form which saw her win four Grand Slams, much to the delight of her mother Tamaki who was in the stands here.
“It definitely means a lot,” said Osaka of her mother’s attendance.
“I think the crowd here is very warm, and I also see Haitian flags sometimes, so I’m really grateful for that.
“I have told a lot of people, like growing up, my mom wasn’t really there because always had to work, because tennis isn’t a cheap sport, you know.
“So just to be able to get to this point in my career and for her to just kind of be watching over me, and I’m sure like to have a kid and to have this dream that your kid is going to be a Grand Slam winner is not a lot of parents can say that they have achieved that.
“So just to have her be there and just to be having fun … it means a lot to me.”
Alize Cornet was another seeded player to exit early, the French 31st seed bowing out to Alison Riske of the United States 6-2, 6-2.
But there were no such problems for ninth-seeded American Danielle Collins, who battled past Hungary’s Anna Bondar 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.