Naomi Osaka reaches quarterfinals of Australian Open warm-up event

Tanya Simon
February 4, 2021

It's the event for those players who were forced into hard lockdown - not allowed to leave their rooms, even for practice - after being deemed close contacts of passengers on their flights who test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Australia.

"I was just excited to come out here, any opponent for me was going to be tricky, I just wanted to find my feet. It's a new year but hopefully, I'll keep playing better." .

In doing so the 39 year-old extended her head-to-head record over the Bulgarian to 6-0 and was delighted to get the job done.

The world number eight, however, remains on track to end her 15-month absence from the circuit at the Australian Open starting on Feb.8. Kenin was a set and trailed 4-1 before making her revival.

The 2019 French Open champion will next face American Shelby Rogers, who ousted Croatia's Petra Martic 7-6 (1) 6-3.

Six ATP and WTA tournaments are now being played at Melbourne Park to get players match fit for the Grand Slam after their fortnight in quarantine. The crush of matches was because of a 14-day quarantine period for all players who travelled to Australia for the tournament.

Australian Open organizers have delayed the start of the Grand Slam tournament by three weeks because of safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy and Russian Federation were the first teams to reach semifinals of the ATP Cup, the 12-team men's event.

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Fabio Fognini beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 7-6 (2) before Matteo Berrettini defeated Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-2 to clinch Italy's win over France.

"It's the first time I'm experiencing coming back to a Grand Slam where I have to - not have to, where I want to try to defend my title".

Tennis Australia responded by calling off all play at the tuneup tournaments scheduled for Thursday. "I played a shorter match yesterday, so maybe subconsciously I made myself play a long match today".

"I haven't played a match since the final in NY, I was definitely really nervous going into it", said Osaka, who won the Australian Open in 2019.

Eighth seed Evans beat Portugal's Pedro Sousa 6-3 7-5 in the second round of the Murray River Open, having received a bye in the first round.

The second-seeded Osaka will play either fifth-seeded Johana Konta or Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu for a semifinal spot.

Second-ranked Simona Halep had a more straight-forward 6-2, 6-4 win over Laura Siegemund.

Usually, the lead-up tournaments for the Australian Open are held in other state capitals and the top players tend to have the week off before the first major of the season.

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