Naomi Osaka has achieved her first quarter-final appearance in almost two years at the Qatar Open.

Naomi Osaka has achieved her first quarter-final appearance in almost two years at the Qatar Open.

After being hesitant and gaining a new outlook, Naomi Osaka has made a comeback in the intense realm of professional tennis. Her progress is gaining momentum as she achieved her first quarter-final in almost 2 years at the Qatar Open.

This Wednesday, Osaka was scheduled to compete against Lesia Tsurenko in their third-round match. However, Tsurenko had to withdraw due to an injury in her elbow. This resulted in Osaka receiving a walkover win. Prior to this, Osaka had already achieved two impressive wins at the WTA 1000 event as a former world No. 1 player.

She delivered a superb performance in her first match to redeem her previous loss in the first round of the Australian Open against Caroline Garcia, the 15th seed in Doha. She emerged victorious with a score of 7-5, 6-4.

Osaka followed that up with a solid 6-3, 7-6 (9) win against Petra ­Martic. The four-time grand slam champion and former world No 1 has not made the last eight since the Miami Open in March 2022.

Seven months ago, Osaka became a mother to her daughter, Shai, and took a 15-month break. Upon her return in January, she has encountered challenging matches and her rivals have consistently performed well while facing a top-ranked player, despite Osaka being understandably not at her peak level.

During her return to the court in Brisbane, Osaka was defeated by Karolina Pliskova in a competitive three-set match. Shortly after, Garcia delivered an impressive performance in Melbourne. While her serve and groundstrokes continue to be strong, the 26-year-old is still adjusting to her return of serve, decision-making during crucial moments, and movement.

Naomi Osaka

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Osaka showed visible frustration last week in Abu Dhabi as she struggled to find her rhythm and ultimately lost her first-round match against Danielle Collins. The defeat was a tough one, with Osaka losing the final nine games and the match with a score of 7-5, 6-0. She had previously lost three out of four matches upon her return, but has maintained a positive attitude off the court. Despite her tendency to play a limited number of tournaments, she has made a commitment to participate in three consecutive tournaments this month, showing her determination to overcome her initial struggles.

“I recently had a conversation with my team and the main focus is to give my best effort,” Osaka stated during an interview with WTA at the start of the week. “While I hope to achieve good results, I am aware that there will be challenging matches and potentially some difficult ones.”

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“I need to relearn how to maintain a consistent pace and understand that there is no such thing as failure. I just have to keep getting back up.”

Osaka’s resilience has been rewarded this week as she has played well, enjoyed a small slice of luck and she will now face Pliskova, a fellow former No 1, with a semi-final in a significant tournament on the line. Pliskova is also attempting to rediscover her top level after injuries and indifferent form led to her falling to No 78 in the rankings. She has enjoyed a wild few days since winning her first title in four years indoors at the WTA 250 event in Cluj, Romania.

After being crowned champion on Sunday evening, Pliskova traveled to Doha and arrived just 12 hours before her first match on Monday. Despite feeling tired and adjusting to a new continent and different conditions, Pliskova has continued to win. On Wednesday, she beat Linda Noskova 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 to secure her spot in the quarter-finals, marking her seventh consecutive victory in the past week.