Miami Open 2022: Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova preview, head-to-head & prediction

Naomi Osaka (L) & Karolina Muchova
Naomi Osaka (L) & Karolina Muchova
Sudeshna Banerjee

Match details

Fixture: Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova.

Date: 26 March 2022.

Tournament: Miami Open presented by Itau.

Round: Third Round (Round of 32).

Venue: Miami, Florida, USA.

Category: WTA 1000.

Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt.

Prize money: $8,584,055.

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

Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova preview

Naomi Osaka and Karolina Muchova will square off at the Miami Open on Saturday, with a pre-quarterfinal berth up for grabs.

Osaka has been trying to build her rhythm back after a year of multiple breaks from the tour due to her mental health struggles. Although she made the semifinals at the Melbourne Summer Set 1 in her first tournament of the season, she suffered early exits in the next couple of events.

At the Miami Open, the former World No. 1 has shown glimpses of the form that fetched her four Grand Slam titles in the past. Osaka is now working with a therapist and is in a better position with regard to her mental health.

This has been reflected in her two dominant wins at the Hard Rock Stadium this week as well. After breezing past Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-4 in her first match, she thrashed three-time Major winner Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round.

Naomi Osaka did not like Caroline Woniacki's prediction about Angelique Kerber progressing from their Quarter 😮Should Osaka be offended on this prediction? 🤔#NaomiOsaka #AngeliqueKerber #CarolineWozniacki #Tennis #Miami

Osaka's spark and belief seem to be back. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Japanese make a deep run at the Miami Open this fortnight.

Karolina Muchova in action at the Wimbledon Championships 2021
Karolina Muchova in action at the Wimbledon Championships 2021

Osaka's next opponent, Karolina Muchova has returned from a long hiatus due to an abdominal muscle injury. The Czech had a breakthrough run at the Australian Open last year, toppling Ashleigh Barty on her way to the semifinals.

The 25-year-old reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and Madrid, with her ranking shooting up to a career-high World No. 19. But her physical woes cut short her progress.

Muchova was able to play just five matches post last year's Championships before returning to competition at the Miami Open this week.

Her ranking might have plummeted to a lowly 74th, but her fighting spirit is still very evident. Muchova beat Tereza Martincova 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3) in the first round in Miami before defeating 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 7-6 (3) to set up a showdown with Osaka.

Karolina Muchova is well and truly back!Brings out all the tricks in the bag to beat Leylah Fernandez & reach Miami 3r, where she'll face Osaka or Kerber.Fernandez was far from her best, making a lot of uncharacteristic errors, but some of the gets by Muchova were incredible.

Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova head-to-head

Osaka and Muchova are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head. Osaka edged Muchova 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in their first encounter at Cincinnati in 2020 but the Czech turned the tables on the Japanese with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win a year later in Madrid.

Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova prediction

Naomi Osaka in action at the 2022 Miami Open
Naomi Osaka in action at the 2022 Miami Open

Karolina Muchova has the game to upset a player of Naomi Osaka's caliber. She has a powerful forehand and can intelligently mix things up from the back of the court to throw her opponents off their game.

However, it might be a little too early into Muchova's comeback to expect her to topple the Japanese.

With Osaka looking in devastating form in her first couple of matches at the Miami Open, the odds are in her favor to make the fourth round. The Japanese powered six aces past Kerber in their second-round clash, winning 89% of the points off her first serve. Osaka was also able to save both the break points she faced.

Her focus and hunger that were missing at times in the last few months seem to be back. If Osaka can keep serving well and find the lines with accuracy, she should be through, although it won't be easy against a feisty competitor like Muchova.

Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in three sets.

Also Check Out: Miami Open 2022 Results

Edited by Anantaajith Ra


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