We know that Naomi Osaka‘s Wimbledon expectations weren’t high, as she’s still learning to adapt to grass, and the fact that her first-round opponent was world No.39 Yulia Putintseva, the player who had beaten her in straight sets just two weeks ago on the lawns of Birmingham, only made the Japanese’s prospects grimmer. The bad predictions for the second seed became reality on the first day of the Grand Slam, as the favorite, at least on paper, lost 7-6(4) 6-2 to her unseeded Kazakh opponent.
The first player to establish a lead in the first-round match on Center Court was actually Osaka, but as Putintseva recovered from the initial 1-3 deficit, she kept striding and edged out the set in the tiebreak. The former world No.1 was then broken twice in the second set, in the fifth and seventh games, before her 38th unforced error gave Putintseva victory.
Note that Osaka has never beaten Putintseva in their three career meetings. Putintseva’s lack of experience on big courts couldn’t drag her down. After the match she explained how she wasn’t used to playing on a court that creates a somewhat round viewpoint.
After stunning with her white polka dot mesh dress by David Koma at the Dubai Duty Free Summer Party in London, Naomi Osaka served us a surprise at Wimbledon, debuting what looks to be a custom Nike dress. While most Nike stars launched the Nike Fall Slam London Dress, and we’re still waiting to see Serena Williams’ and Maria Sharapova’s gear in action, the two-time major champion Osaka showed up in a groundbreaking design that features a long asymmetric pleated skirt and a high-neckline top with an unconventional cutout at right chest. Some weeks ago there were talks about Naomi getting her own Nike line and here it is.