'Almost killed her': Naomi Osaka mortified by chair umpire incident

·4-min read
Pictured right, Naomi Osaka reacts after hitting a forehand straight at the chair umpire at the Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka's concern was plain to see after she hit a forehand straight at the chair umpire during a first round Australian Open win. Pic: Ch9

Defending champion Naomi Osaka eased into the second round of the Australian Open on day one, but the Japanese star's straight sets win didn't come without drama.

Osaka booked her spot in the next round at Melbourne Park after downing spirited Colombian Camila Osorio, 6-3 6-3.

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The Japanese superstar delivered a mixed bag in what ended up being a regulation win over the World No.50.

However, the four-time grand slam winner was left mortified during a point late in the match when she hit an errant forehand straight at the chair umpire.

The ferocious forehand came within centimetres of hitting a ball girl stationed at the side of the court as it sailed into the unsuspecting umpire.

"Sorry, sorry," a concerned Osaka could be heard calling out to the official who responded to the accident by saying: "It was hard," as she laughed off the scare.

The chair umpire clearly appreciated the concern shown to her by the Japanese star, who was also praised on social media for her reaction.

With her ranking slipping to No.14 after a tumultuous 2021, Osaka showed no signs of the abdominal injury that saw her withdraw from the semi-finals of a lead-up tournament 10 days ago.

Naomi Osaka happy with opening win

"I thought I played really well given the circumstances," Osaka said in an on-court interview.

"I didn't really have that much information on my opponent and I thought she played amazing.

"She was fighting for every point and I think that's a really good quality so I'm sure we'll see her on this court pretty frequently."

The four-time grand slam champion looked like she would make short work of Osorio, racing to a 5-0 lead in the opening set on Rod Laver Arena.

Seen here, Japan's Naomi Osaka celebrates her match point against Colombia's Camila Osorio at the Australian Open.
Japan's Naomi Osaka celebrates her match point against Colombia's Camila Osorio in the Australian Open first round. Pic: Getty

But Osorio, who hadn't played since October, skipping the warm-up tournaments in Australia, started to find her rhythm.

The 20-year-old clawed her way back to 3-5 and then had two break points to get the match back on serve.

But Osaka steadied before sending down a big serve to wrap up the first set.

The former world No.1 then took advantage of a poor service game by Osorio to break for a 3-1 lead.

While the youngster, who is a former US Open junior champion, tried to stay in touch she was unable to peg back her rival.

Osaka herself has only played three matches since her third-round exit at the US Open, opting to take a mental break from tennis.

The Japanese star is on a potential fourth collision course with World No.1 Ash Barty, who opens her account on Monday night against Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko.

with AAP

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