Naomi Osaka qualified for the fourth round of the Australian Open tennis tournament today, Friday, by beating Tunisian Onas Jaber, 6-3, 6-2, in front of the last group of fans allowed to attend before entering the tournament in blanket isolation.
The third-ranked Japanese player fired 8 aces to control her first match against the world number 30 Tunisian player and set a date with Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who won two Grand Slam titles.
“Thank you for attending, it is great to play in front of you,” said Osaka, in front of the crowd at John Kane Stadium.
This interaction with the masses will not be possible for five days from Friday after the Victorian state government announced strict isolation in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Melbourne.
US Open champion Osaka said she was concerned about Ans’ shots in front of the net, but had dealt smoothly with her opponent, extending her winning streak to 17 matches.
Osaka, who won her second Grand Slam title in Melbourne in 2019, was forced to stop in the second set due to a bee flying in front of her face and pushing her racket to the side of the ring.
Osaka saved 6 points out of 7 to break her service and was sent to win the match without losing a point to reach the last 16 in Melbourne Park for the third time after 78 minutes.