Defending US Open champion, Naomi Osaka started her title defense with a straight-sets win over Mari Bouzkova.
Osaka’s performance erased any worries about her not being in great shape following a turbulent year which saw her withdraw from the French Open and skip Wimbledon, citing mental health issues.
The third seed was made to sweat for the opening set, saving three break points at 1-1 before eventually forcing the break to clinch it in game 10.
It was all smooth sailing from there for Osaka, a two-time US Open champion, as breezed through the second set, registering a 6-4 6-1 victory, to the delight of the fans at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
“It feels kind of crazy to play in front of everyone again,” Osaka said in her on court interview.
“Last year when we didn’t have a crowd it felt quite lonely for me. The energy here is unmatched.
“I’ve played a lot of matches on this court, maybe the most in my career and I definitely feel comfortable here.” she said.