Osaka finds footing on Madrid clay; Halep rolls

Tennis

MADRID — Second-seeded Naomi Osaka made her return to clay to beat Misaki Doi 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Friday.

Osaka overcame Doi’s strong start by hitting six aces and breaking her serve five times.

A leg injury meant Osaka missed last season’s clay-court swing, and her last individual tournament on the surface was at Roland Garros in 2019. She played and lost for Japan against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in the Fed Cup in February 2020.

Osaka, the US Open and Australian Open champion, next plays Karolina Muchova after the Czech beat Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-3.

Third-seeded Simona Halep, who won the tournament in 2016 and ’17, beat Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 7-5.

Maria Sakkari roared back after losing the first seven games of her match against Amanda Anisimova to win 0-6, 6-1, 6-4.

In other matches, Daria Kasatkina needed three match points to see off Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), and fifth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-2.

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