TOKYO, Japan - Angelique Kerber enjoyed a straight-sets win over Naomi Osaka at the Toray Pan-Pacific Open, beating last year's runner-up 6-3, 6-4.
"It's really nice being back," said Kerber after the match. "It's always a great tournament and I always look forward to coming back to Tokyo and the Japanese fans. I'm happy to have won my first round and am looking forward to the next round."
The victory was additionally sweet for Kerber, who was looking for revenge over the woman who knocked her out of the US Open in straight sets.
"It's always tough to play against her," she added. "I was trying to come out here and really focus on every single point and make it better than last time...she's a great player, great, talented player and tough opponent. For sure she will have great success in the future."
The German got off to a good start with a strong take of the first set, comfortably breaking the Osaka serve.
The 19-year-old fought back at the start of the second set, though, with her forehand firing and getting the break to take a 3-2 lead.
The former WTA World No.1 did not lose concentration, however, creating plenty of problems for the teenager and putting the pressure on her serve.
Osaka over-compensated against the German's measured game and the steady increase of pressure, and eventually sent a forehand wide to hand her the match.
Kerber will play either Madison Brengle or Daria Kasatkina in the next round.