Naomi Osaka lost in the second round of the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday, going down 4-6, 6-3, 1-6 to Karolina Muchova. After her defeat, Osaka was full of praise for her Czech counterpart but at the same time expressed displeasure at her own decision-making during the match.
Naomi Osaka struck 27 winners in the match to Muchova's 29. She didn't commit too many unforced errors either, with a total count of 24. But her shot selection and movement ultimately cost her the match, as she was regularly out of position in the longer exchanges.
The World No. 2 echoed that thought during her post-match press conference, but asserted that she wasn't physically compromised at any point during the match. Osaka gave full credit to Muchova and joked that she would like to avoid facing the Czech on clay again. She did, however, quickly add that she hopes to flip the script the next time they lock horns with each other.
"Physically I don't think I got tired," Osaka said. "I made some pretty bad decisions point-wise in really crucial moments. So I think I'll learn from that, and hopefully - I don't really want to play her on clay anymore, but maybe next time we play, I'll make better decisions, and maybe the outcome will be in my favor that time."
Naomi Osaka and Karolina Muchova squared off last year at the Cincinnati Open as well, with the Japanese requiring three sets and 155 minutes to outlast the Czech. Osaka referred to that match during her presser, explaining why she wasn't surprised with Muchova's performance. The 23-year-old also expressed her desire to move as well as Muchova does on clay.
"I wasn't surprised, I played her before, and it was three sets then too," Osaka continued. "I would say it's more impressive the way she was moving. I want to learn how to slide like she does."
I have a pretty positive outlook on the defeat: Naomi Osaka
Despite falling in the early stages of a claycourt event for the umpteenth time in her career, Naomi Osaka stressed that she is not overly concerned with the result. Osaka believes she did 'really well' overall, and claimed that she is happy with how she fought against Muchova.
"I would say I have a pretty positive outlook on it (the defeat), because for me my biggest things today, I know I can't control the outcome of the match but I can control my attitude and how hard I fought," Naomi Osaka said. "For me, I thought I did that really well."
The World No. 2 further mentioned that she and her team analyzed her performance after she lost, before adding that they now have a 'plan' for the rest of the clay swing.
"I'm really happy with how I was able to talk with my team after I lost and after I came off the court," continued the Japanese. "We have a plan now, so I think it's good."