Naomi Osaka says she is happy to have lost to Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open third round because she would have learned less had she defeated the two-time winner in Melbourne.
The 18-year-old, whose father is Haitian and mother Japanese, came through three rounds of qualifying to get into the main draw of her first grand slam event, but was thoroughly outclassed by the Belarusian in Saturday’s match, which Azarenka won 6-1, 6-1 in less than an hour on Rod Laver Arena.
“I guess this match, because it’s like I’m learning,” she said when asked what she would remember most of her maiden grand slam.
“Honestly, I’m a bit glad she beat me like this because I have so much more to learn and I can take this as a good experience.
“I mean, I’m glad I lost. I would also be very happy if I won. I say that, because if I were just to have beaten her I don’t think I would learn as much. You know what I mean?”
Azarenka’s dominant baseline game coupled with powerful serves and clever play at the net proved far too much for the Japanese youngster, who admitted afterwards that she could have played slightly more aggressively.
“Probably just learn how to enjoy the moment, because I was tense from the very start,” she replied when asked what the major lesson she learnt from Saturday’s defeat was.
“Like being able to adjust to how she was playing. Not let so many things bother me.”
Osaka entered the tournament ranked 127th in the world but should crack the top 100 when the WTA rankings are released after the completion of the year’s first major. When asked what her next ambition is, she said she will be returning to Japan and work on breaking into the top 50.
“I changed it from 100 to 50 because I’m pretty sure I can do it,” she added.
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