HomeLatestMiami Open 2022: Naomi Osaka vs Angelique Kerber preview, head-to-head & prediction

Miami Open 2022: Naomi Osaka vs Angelique Kerber preview, head-to-head & prediction

Match details

Fixture: Naomi Osaka vs (13) Angelique Kerber.

Date: 24 March 2022.

Tournament: Miami Open presented by Itau.

Round: Second Round (Round of 64).

Venue: Miami, Florida, USA.

Category: WTA 1000.

Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt.

Match timing: Not before 1 pm local time, 5 pm GMT, 10:30 pm IST.

Prize money: $8,584,055.

Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK – Amazon Prime Video.

Naomi Osaka vs Angelique Kerber preview

Two former World No. 1s will clash in the second round of the Miami Open on Thursday. as Naomi Osaka takes on 13th seed Angelique Kerber.

Osaka hasn’t been in the best of form since her mental health struggles came to light last year. Since her return to competition at the start of the 2022 season, the four-time Major champion has a 6-2 win-loss record heading into Miami.

The Japanese has made the semifinals just once in three tournaments so far, which is a far cry from the dominant player she once was. Her ranking, too, has plummeted to a lowly 77th.

However, that hasn’t deterred the 24-year-old and she is putting in the hard yards to try and get back to the top of the sport. After a tearful exit from the Indian Wells Open two weeks ago, Osaka revealed that she had begun working with a therapist.

Great news from Naomi Osaka: “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I finally started talking to a therapist after Indian Wells. It only took like a year after French Open.Yeah, I don’t know, she kind of like told me strategies and stuff. I realize how helpful it is.”

She looked composed in her first-round match against Astra Sharma in Miami on Wednesday, running away to a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Osaka will look to take the positives from that win into her clash against Angelique Kerber.

Angelique Kerber in action at the BNP Paribas Open
Angelique Kerber in action at the BNP Paribas Open

Three-time Major winner Kerber produced a resurgent show last summer when she won the Bad Homburg title and made the semifinals at Wimbledon and Cincinnati. She also progressed into the US Open last 16.

The German finished the season strongly with a run to the quarterfinals at Indian Wells in October.

However, she started the new season on the wrong foot. After splitting with her coach Torben Beltz, the southpaw tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the new season. This resulted in a delayed start to her campaign and a lack of match practice.

Kerber was subsequently knocked out in the first round of both the Australian Open and the Qatar Open.

At Indian Wells, the World No. 15 showed glimpses of her best as she reached the fourth round and pushed eventual champion Iga Swiatek to three sets before losing.

Kerber will hope to build on that run at the Miami Open.

Naomi Osaka vs Angelique Kerber head-to-head

Angelique Kerber leads the head-to-head against Naomi Osaka 4-1. The Japanese won their first-ever encounter at the 2017 US Open in straight sets. However, since then, Kerber has had the upper hand in their rivalry, winning their last four matches.

The duo most recently clashed at the 2018 WTA Finals, where the German secured a hard-fought 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win.

Naomi Osaka vs Angelique Kerber prediction

Angelique Kerber hits the ball at the BNP Paribas Open
Angelique Kerber hits the ball at the BNP Paribas Open

Naomi Osaka looked close to her imperious best against Astra Sharma in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday. She produced a couple of aces and won 93% of her first-serve points in a spectacular show of first-strike tennis. Osaka didn’t face a single break point against the Aussie.

But it should be noted that Sharma doesn’t have the experience or the quality to hang in there with the top stars. Kerber, on the other hand, will be a whole different ballgame, an opponent Osaka can’t dominate with her power game.

Naomi Osaka plays a very good first match in Miami to easily beat Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-4 and reach the 2nd round. Didn’t face a break point.Next? Angelique Kerber, in a match between multiple Slam champs, former #1s and future hall of famers. https://t.co/fxj29a5Vxv

The German is a master at converting defense to offense, with her down-the-line shots being a major weapon. Kerber thrives on the pace produced by her opponents and uses her fantastic movement and anticipation skills to turn the rallies in her favor.

Osaka traditionally struggles against lefties, which doesn’t bode well for her ahead of this match. Kerber will look to engage the Japanese in long rallies in order to eke out errors from her racquet. She has had the Japanese’s number the last four times and will be eager to earn a fifth consecutive win against Osaka.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to win in three sets.

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