Fixture: (2) Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova
Date: 2 May 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €2,614,465
Match timing: 11 am local time, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova preview
Naomi Osaka marked her return to clay with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Misaki Doi in the first round of the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open. Osaka will next square off against Karolina Muchova in the second round on Sunday.
Muchova also triumphed in straight sets, beating Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-3 in her first-round match on Friday.
Osaka began slowly in the match against Doi, getting broken in her very first service game to find herself trailing 2-0. But the World No. 2 broke back instantly to avoid going down 3-0, and then gradually found her footing as the match progressed.
Timing her returns better, Osaka broke Doi once again at 4-4 to serve for the set. Doi did break back to love, but she couldn't sustain her level over the next two games and conceded the first set 5-7.
Osaka didn't look back from there, blowing Doi off the court in the second set with some sumptuous all-court tennis.
The four-time Slam champion displayed improved agility on the slower surface, moving and retrieving well for most parts of the match. She will, however, be most pleased by her first-serve numbers.
Osaka sent down six aces and won a whopping 83.3% of the points played on her first serve. The fact that Doi couldn't make any inroads on Osaka's delivery in the second set speaks volumes about the threat that the shot carries even on clay.
Karolina Muchova, meanwhile, was absolutely dominant in her victory over Wang Qiang. The 24-year-old won nearly 80% of her first-serve points and got broken just once throughout the match.
Muchova has been in spectacular form over the last few months, dating back to the resumption of the tour in August. However, her 2021 season did get affected by an injury after the Australian Open, where she reached the semifinals.
Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova head-to-head
Naomi Osaka leads Karolina Muchova in the head-to-head by a margin of 1-0. Osaka and Muchova had squared off at the 2020 Western & Southern Open, with the Japanese winning 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2.
Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova prediction
Karolina Muchova is one of the toughest opponents on the WTA tour due to her remarkable all-round skills. Muchova has a very effective kick serve on clay, and also has the raw power to generate winners from anywhere.
The Czech's sliced backhand in particular could cause some grief for Naomi Osaka, who doesn't deal too well with changes in pace.
While Osaka might have the more destructive serve, Muchova is arguably the superior returner on clay. The Czech certainly has the tools to cause an upset on Sunday, and it remains to be seen how Osaka deals with the threat.
Prediction: Karolina Muchova to win in three sets.