Fixture: (2) Naomi Osaka vs Misaki Doi
Date: 30 April 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €2,549,105
Match timing: Approx. 1 pm local time, 4.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Naomi Osaka vs Misaki Doi preview
Naomi Osaka is set to open her 2021 Mutua Madrid Open campaign with a first-round contest against compatriot Misaki Doi on Friday.
Osaka, the second seed in Madrid this week, hasn't played a claycourt match this year and will be keen on finding her stride on the surface quickly. Against Doi - a seasoned campaigner on the tour - she faces a test right at the start.
Doi particularly enjoys playing in Madrid, and is no stranger to upsets.The 29-year-old had taken out then World No. 9 Madison Keys en-route to the third round of the 2017 edition of the tournament, and she definitely has the game to trouble the best on dirt.
Doi has already notched up a couple of strong wins in the qualification rounds, including one over the in-form Danka Kovinic. Needless to say, the Japanese will be feeling confident about her game.
Naomi Osaka vs Misaki Doi head-to-head
Naomi Osaka leads Misaki Doi in the head-to-head with a 2-0 margin. That said, Doi did trouble her higher-ranked compatriot at the 2020 US Open, taking her to three hard-fought sets.
Naomi Osaka vs Misaki Doi prediction
Naomi Osaka has been in fine form over the last few months, and will enter this contest as a firm favorite. However, she hasn't played a match on clay in quite some time, and will need to make a few quick adjustments here.
Misaki Doi, meanwhile, looks to have found her footing in Madrid. The World No. 79 has delivered solid serving performances throughout the week, winning well over 70% points behind her first serve.
Doi will need to post similar numbers and further rely on her biggest strengths - foot speed and nifty volleys - to keep Osaka from settling into the match. She wouldn't want to indulge in too many long baseline exchanges against the second seed, because the latter is likely to dominate proceedings with her powerful groundstrokes.
Osaka can be vulnerable when made to play outside of her comfort zone, as was evident in her surprise defeat to Maria Sakkari in Miami. Doi will need to step out with a similar gameplan and execute it to perfection if she wishes to cause an upset here, or else Osaka will find a way to power through.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in two tight sets.