The second round of the Australian Open saw Johanna Konta face off against Naomi Osaka in Rod Laver Arena as one of the must-see matches of the competition. Konta entered the match as the heavy favourite as she owned a 1-0 head-to-head record against Osaka and is the higher-ranked player. However, Osaka definitely has the ability to pull off a huge upset and would stand a respectable chance in the match. It turned out that the win went to the higher-ranked player as Konta strolled to a straight sets victory after a very tight first set.
Konta clinches tight first set
Known for her strong service, Osaka started the match with a comfortable hold of service to start the match perfectly. The first winner of the match came later than expected as Konta closed out her opening service game with a forehand winner to let the set remain on serve. Unforced errors almost cost Osaka greatly but she managed to utilize her strong serves to hold her serve and prevent herself from falling behind early in the set. With an average serve speed of 162 km/h through this point, Konta served two consecutive aces to close out yet another service game in this tight match where neither players could find a breakthrough in their return games. Konta finally had the opportunity to break service for the first time as she stepped up her return game to earn two break points.
However, unforced errors were dragging Konta behind when she had a great opportunity to make the first breakthrough as the Brit handed out three consecutive errors to allow Osaka to hold a nervy service game. The Japanese also earned a break point opportunity of her own as Konta failed to find her first serves at the crucial moments. Similar to the game at 2-2, Konta also managed to save a break point and hold serve eventually. There was finally a break of serve in the ninth game as Konta, the more experienced player of the two, finally made the first breakthrough and took the lead for the first time to earn a chance to serve out the first set. In this service-dominated match, it was no doubt that Konta would be able to successfully serve out the set, and she dutifully completed the job to clinch the set after 38 minutes.
Konta strolls to victory
Osaka had an encouraging start to the second set as she opened the set with a comfortable service hold. However, it all went wrong for the Japanese as Konta won the next eight points to clinch a rare break of service and take the lead in the second set which puts her in a favourable position to close out the match. Konta then managed to consolidate the break of service with another comfortable hold of serve with an ace on game point to further affirm her lead.
Osaka was still unable to find an opportunity to break serve as Konta strolled to yet another service hold to lead 4-2 and look to close out the match successfully. The win looked to be certain for the ninth-seeded player as she broke serve for the third time in the match to have the chance to serve out the match. Securing a tough hold of service, Konta finally closed out the match to clinch a spot in the third round after 1 hour and 9 minutes.
Next up for Konta
It would be a very tough opponent for Konta in the third round as Caroline Wozniacki would be waiting for her there. As a former world number one, Wozniacki definitely has the ability to defeat the top players and the match would definitely be one of the few blockbuster matches of the third round.