Naomi Osaka was left with a pounding defeat at the hands of Sara Sorribes Tormo in Japan’s opening Fed Cup 2020 encounter on Friday.
Playing at the Centro de Tenis La Manga Club, Cartagena in Murcia, hosts Spain took a 1-0 lead when Sorribes Tormo routed the two-time Grand Slam winner 6-0, 6-3 on the opening day of the tie.
With the match being played on clay, it was obviously going to test Osaka given it was her least favourite surface, but not too many would have expected her to capitulate so easily. And despite the venue, surface or her recent early defeat at the Australian Open, Osaka had gone into the match as an overwhelming favourite,
However Osaka struggled with her serve, getting just 55% of her first serves in and won just 43% of those first serves. On the contrary, her Spaniard opponent had a higher percentage of first serves in (69%) to 68% of those won.
Even worse was the Japanese player’s second serves. She won just seven of the 25 points on them.
As a result, Sorribes Tormo broke Osaka six times, faced just three break-points in return and was broken just once in, which happened in the second set.
Osaka’s struggles were magnified by her unforced errors. In a match where Sorribes Tormo hit just three winners to the Japanese’s 19, Osaka also sent down 50 unforced errors, to her opponent’s six.
There was a short window of opportunity for Osaka in the second set as she held serve and then broke her opponent to go 2-0 up and while she was immediately broken back, she still held a 3-2 lead. That was the last game she had won in the set, however, as Sorribes Tormo reeled off the next four to register the win.
She will now need to recoup quickly as she takes on Carla Suarez Navarro in the second match. Suarez Navarro will first play Misaki Doi in her opener on Friday.