Naomi Osaka progressed to the third round of the Australian Open with a minimum of fuss, but the third seed’s press conference after defeating Caroline Garcia was anything but.
The world No.3 enjoyed a straightforward 6-2, 6-3 win over Garcia, but her post-match press conference took a hilarious detour when fellow star Iga Swiatek derailed proceedings.
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The Polish star waltzed in and joked with Osaka, who quipped that she had contemplated doing the same thing to Swiatek earlier in the tournament.
“I was going to interrupt your interview but felt like I shouldn’t,” Osaka said, to which Swiatek replied ‘next time you shouldn’t hesitate.’
The pair then shared a joked about what Osaka called a ‘flip flop dilemma’.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 10, 2021
The Japan star, who is also the reigning US Open champion, next faces world No.30 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.
Taking just 61 minutes to secure the win, Osaka lived up to her tag as favourite.
She said she felt comfortable against the world No.43. who was ranked as high as No.4 in late 2018.
"It felt good," Osaka said.
"It's really hard to play opponents like her because you never know what she's going to do and how hard she's going to hit."
Asked on court on how she'd been spending her time in Melbourne since her arrival, Osaka said she felt guilty getting out and about while people in the USA, where she is based, were struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The first day I got here I was really excited because you guys get to do stuff, unlike in America," the 23-year-old said.
"So I walked around but then I felt guilty, I didn't know if guys were staring at me so then I just stayed in my room and started watching Netflix."
Ash Barty overcomes Daria Gavrilova in second round
Ash Barty is refusing to get ahead of herself after another straight-sets triumph and the shock removal of defending champion Sofia Kenin sent the world No.1's Australian Open title prospects soaring.
Barty cast friendship aside to advance to the third round at Melbourne Park for a fifth straight year with a 6-1 7-6 (9-7) win over Fed Cup teammate Daria Gavrilova.
Barty's victory was much less convincing than her 6-0 6-0 first-round mauling of Danka Kovinic.
But with Kenin suffering a 6-3 6-2 loss to Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi, suddenly her biggest roadblock to the final has cleared.
Kenin crashed the Barty party in the semi-finals last year and had been slated to strike the top seed at the same stage next week.
Instead Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Belinda Bencic - three players Barty beat en route to winning the 2019 WTA Finals in China - shape as the home hope's biggest threats in the top half of the draw.
Not that Barty is taking anything from Kenin's surprise exit.
"Doesn't affect me whatsoever," the 24-year-old said.
"I've just been playing my own match and controlling what I can control from my end.
"Without even being aware that she was playing today, no disrespect to anyone, but I don't look much at the schedule except for when I'm scheduled to play."
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