Australian Open 2021: Bad dream puts Naomi Osaka on edge before win over Caroline Garcia
Three-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka had an uneasy feeling on Wednesday before her Round 2 match against Caroline Garcia after waking up in a panic after a nightmare.
Melbourne: A "nervous" Naomi Osaka said she dreamed of defeat and feared the worst — before putting her worries to rest with a sweeping victory over Caroline Garcia at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Osaka, the third seed, faced a tricky contest against the Frenchwoman, who was ranked a career-high of fourth in late 2018, but never gave her a sniff in the 6-2, 6-3 victory in 61 minutes.
The three-time Slam winner, however, had an uneasy feeling on Wednesday, waking up in a panic after a nightmare.
"Last night I had a dream that I lost this match, and I really didn't feel good about it," she said.
"My dreams are very telling of the future.
"Going into this match I was really nervous. So then I just talked to my team, and I felt better about the situation."
The 2019 Australian Open champion cruised through the opening set and then snuffed out any challenge from 43-ranked Garcia with a break in the sixth game of the second, before finishing it off in style with her 10th ace.
"It's really hard to play a player like her, because I never know when she's going to swing for the ball or anything," she said.
"I knew that she was going to be aggressive on my second serve, so I felt like I had to do better there.
"I just have to keep staying steady. Happy that I was able to do it in two."
She next faces 27th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, a quarter-finalist at last year's Australian Open whose talent has long impressed Osaka.
"I always felt like watching her she's a player that can do anything, and I always felt like she should be where she is now and even higher," she said of the 26-year-old.
Osaka, now unbeaten in 16 matches over the past 12 months, including the US Open final, is eyeing redemption after her title defence last year ended with a shock loss to American teenager Coco Gauff in the third round.
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The Serb reclaimed the top ranking from Rafael Nadal in February 2020 and finished as year-end number one for the sixth time, tying the mark set by Pete Sampras.
Osaka, 23, trades places with Simona Halep, the Romanian dropping down to third after losing to Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.
Australian Open 2021 Review: Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic's contrasting roads to glory highlight year's opening Slam
In the end, the ‘new normal’ turned out to be the ‘old normal’ at the Australian Open 2021. Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka lived up to their billing of being the tournament favorites by capturing the men’s and women’s titles. However, the two are a study in contrast in almost everything and had very different journeys to their titles.