Naomi Osaka Wins BNP Paribas Open for First WTA Tour Title
(March 18, 2018) In a match between 20-year-olds, No. 44 Naomi Osaka won her first tournament title on the WTA Tour on Sunday defeating 20th seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-3, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open, a Premier Mandatory event.
Osaka, from Japan, is just the third unseeded play to win the event. Serena Williams did it in 1999 as did Kim Clijsters in 2005. The new No. 22 in the world is also the youngest to win Indian Wells since 2008, when Ana Ivanovic took the title.
“I was extremely stressed and extremely nervous,” Osaka admitted to media. “But my plan was to, like, fake that I’m very calm. So I’m glad that you said that, so that means it worked.
“Yeah, and I just knew that she was going to fight for every point, too. So I couldn’t afford to lose points based on nerves, and I had to keep making the right decisions.”
“Basically she was much better today than me, so she really deserved to win,” Kasatkina said.
“Yeah, of course I think we were both nervous at the beginning, because the biggest finals so far.
“Yeah. But, during the match she was able to manage her nerves and stuff, and I was still a little bit tight during the match. So it is what it is.”
“I wasn’t really trying to hit hard today, because I felt like it would be better for her to take my pace,” said Osaka. “So I wanted her to do whatever she wanted to do, and I was just going to sit back and, like, see what she does.
“Yeah, I wasn’t — I feel like I wasn’t that aggressive today. I was just more consistent.”
“I think towards the end, I didn’t know that I won the match point. So then I was sort of, like, Caveman SpongeBob.
But I don’t know. I don’t really know what’s going on right now,” the winner said smiling. “I really feel like I have another match I have to play tomorrow, and it didn’t really sink in that I won.
“So, yeah, I’m just trying to, like, “Woohoo” (pointing to trophy). I’m happy.
“I really wanted to win this, but also I just tried to think it was a first-round match and just not psych myself out too much.”
Osaka joins Daniela Hantuchova in 2002, winning the Indian Wells trophy as their first WTA title.
It’s on to Miami for the Miami Open. The women’s draw, completed on Sunday has Osaka playing 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the first round.