Having been one match away from facing each other in an Australian Open final, Naomi Osaka and Danielle Collins will do battle in a slightly smaller matchup in the third round at Indian Wells. The World No.1 needs to continue winning to maintain her spot, something that would be confirmed with a defense of her title.
After her astonishing run to the semi finals in Melbourne, Collins has not been in action much. She was comprehensively outplayed by Victoria Azarenka in Acapulco but bounced back with a dominant win over Kirsten Flipkens to begin at Indian Wells. She was ruthless after falling down 4-1, dropping just one more game in a 6-4 6-1 victory. “I got off to a little bit of a slow start, a little bit of first-round nerves.” she said. “From 4-1 down it was smooth sailing the rest of the way through and didn’t really let my foot off the gas once I got back into the match.”
Osaka got her revenge over Kristina Mladenovic in her second round clash, making it a winning start for the partnership between herself and new coach Jarmere Jenkins. The previous defeat, which caused a lot of unnecessary panic about the 21 year old, was not something that got a then coachless Osaka too down. “Because I learn the most when I lose matches, and I lost to her last in Dubai.” she said. “And honestly, it was great that I got to play her again because I was able to learn from the mistakes I did back then, and I was able to apply it. It worked out pretty well for me.”
Collins will definitely be eager to erase memories of the last time her and Osaka played. It was a demolition job in Beijing, with Osaka needing less than an hour to win 6-1 6-0. “I’d definitely like to get another crack at Osaka based off of the last match we played. There is no way it could go any worse for me. That’s really as bad as it can get in terms of the score and how quickly the match went.” she said. The bit hitting American showed her fearlessness in Melbourne and will be buoyed by an enthusiastic home crowd but it may not be enough this time round.
Prediction – Naomi Osaka in straight sets