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Osaka impressed by 'younger me' Aiava

Naomi Osaka has urged Australian youngster Destanee Aiava to "trust the process" after handing her a comprehensive beating in Brisbane.

Osaka impressed by 'younger me' Aiava

Naomi Osaka has urged Australian youngster Destanee Aiava to "trust the process" after handing her a comprehensive beating in Brisbane.

NAOMI OSAKA of Japan plays a backhand in her women's singles match against Angelique Kerber of Germany during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global at Singapore Sports Hub in Singapore.
NAOMI OSAKA of Japan plays a backhand in her women's singles match against Angelique Kerber of Germany during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global at Singapore Sports Hub in Singapore. Picture:Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Naomi Osaka may not have seemed troubled by Destanee Aiava, but she has seen enough to believe the young Australian can follow her footsteps to stardom.

US Open champion Osaka cruised into the Brisbane International quarter-finals on Tuesday, crushing the 18-year-old Australian 6-3 6-2 in their second-round match.


Aiava, ranked 242 places lower than her Japanese opponent, had the chance to take an early advantage with three break points in the third game of the match.

But she couldn't convert, and from there the match was Osaka's as she took the first set's decisive break the following game.

The 21-year-old took just 69 minutes to prevail at Pat Rafter Arena, highlighting the gulf between the two in class and composure.

But their power games were a stalemate, Osaka said.

"It was kind of like a younger me in a way," Osaka said.

"I felt like when I was playing her she sort of matched my power, which was really surprising to me, because there was not that many people that can do that."

Reluctant to hand out advice, she channelled the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers in urging Aiava to "trust the process".

"When you're young, it's easy to forget because you're so in the moment," she said.

"But when you look back, it's like a gradual like hill that you're climbing.

"For me, when I was her age, I went through a lot of ups and downs. And that's normal. And then just suddenly - it's not out of nowhere but kind of out of nowhere.

"So I think you can only just keep trusting the process."

Osaka was coy on her own preparation for the Australian Open as she bids to go better than her round-of-16 appearance in 2018, revealing her pre-season was hampered.

"I didn't really serve that much during off season, because I hurt my shoulder a little bit," she said.

"So honestly, I was just really glad that I could serve well today.

But I think one of the things that I was working on more is like trusting my fitness level. And even though it didn't seem like it because I was blasting half of the balls, I was trying to construct the point a little bit, so I think that's what mattered to me the most."

She will play the winner of Wednesday's encounter between Latvian Anastasija Sevastova and Brit Harriet Dart for a place in the semi-finals.

AAP


AAP




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