WTA Indian Wells: Naomi Osaka stuns Maria Sharapova in straight sets

Grant SmithMar 11, 2018

Maria Sharapova continued to struggle to find form this season.

Cape Town - Maria Sharapova was left to reflect on a disappointing first-round defeat to Naomi Osaka at Indian Wells on Wednesday.

For Sharapova this loss is another reminder that it's back to the drawing board for the Russian as she makes her way back from a 15-month drugs ban.

Sam Stosur overcame a slow start to beat American Lauren Davis 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Ranked 44th, Osaka took a 4-2 lead in the second set.

The 20-year-old Osaka won 75 percent of her first-serve points as she needed 95 minutes to win the only night session match.

Anisimova, the junior women's U.S. Open champion, was stronger than the 32-year-old Parmentier in every facet of the game on the slow hard court in Indian Wells.

In other action, former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard crashed out, losing 6-3, 6-4 to Sachia Vickery of the United States.

"I'm really proud of myself".

"Of course, I wanted to do well here, and not just because I won this event a couple of times, but that's the mentality I have as a former champion, as someone that's a competitor that wants to do well and compete well at an event no matter what event it is or where it is".

She will face Russia's 23rd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round. The loss of serve didn't affect Osaka though, as she promptly broke the Russian again at 5-4 to take the first set. She also reached the Shenzhen semi-finals, was routed by Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open third round and withdrew from the Dubai Open injured. A daring backhand passing victor at 4-4 30-30 saw Osaka claim the vital hold for 5-4, which meant that Sharapova once again had to serve at a critical moment.

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