??? BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R2 Preview
?? (1) Naomi Osaka vs. ?? Kristina Mladenovic
Naomi Osaka gets a shot at revenge in her opening round clash in Indian Wells as she takes on Kristina Mladenovic. Osaka suffered a shock opening round loss to Mladenovic in Dubai a few weeks ago in her only match prior to winning the Australian Open in January. Osaka will be keen to avoid back-to-back losses to Mladenovic and more importantly look to start her title defence strongly in the Californian desert.
The eyes of the tennis world are again very much focused on Naomi Osaka over the next week in Indian Wells. Osaka started her rapid rise to the top of women’s tennis this time last year when she won the BNP Paribas Open before going on to win the US Open and the Australian Open. Things haven’t quite gone smoothly since Naomi’s Australian Open triumph, Osaka split with her coach Sascha Bajin and suffered a shock first-up loss to Mladenovic in Dubai in her only match since winning her second Grand Slam title.
Kristina Mladenovic is seemingly starting to build some confidence. Mladenovic’s win over Osaka in Dubai was a big one as she won back-to-back matches for the first time in 2019 before succumbing at the third round stage. Mladenovic made a good start in Indian Wells with a 7-5 6-2 win over Saisai Zheng. Mladenovic dug deep in her win over Zheng, coming from behind in the opening set where she was forced to save a couple of set points before running over the top of her Chinese opponent in the second set.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Osaka beat Mladenovic 6-2 6-2 in Dubai in 2018 whilst just a few weeks ago Mladenovic won 6-3 6-3 also in Dubai.