Naomi Osaka overcame delays, a dip in form and a second-set tactical switch from opponent Tamara Zidansek to advance to the last 32 at the Australian Open for a third time, downing her fellow 21-year-old 6-2 6-4 on Thursday.
The No.4 seed, who will face Su-Wei Hsieh in the third round, was not entirely happy with her performance, but she still had too much for the Slovenian, who admitted to feeling a little star-struck facing the reigning US Open champion.
“It's weird,” Osaka said of the idea of being looked up to by fellow players. “For me, when I play Venus [Williams] or something, I'm star-struck, too. It's a bit weird when you tell me there's someone I'm playing that feels that way.
“I feel like she played really well today. When I go into matches like these, where I feel like I'm expected to win, I always think the other player's going to play, like, unbelievable. I feel like that mentality is helping me a lot.”