Former World No.1 Naomi Osaka posted her first clay-court win in exactly two years in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open, defeating lucky loser Greet Minnen 6-4, 6-1 in 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Osaka fired eight aces and faced just one break point en route to her first victory on clay since beaing Anastasia Potapova in the first round of Madrid 2022. The four-time Grand Slam champion will face No.15 seed Liudmila Samsonova in the second round for the second time this year. Seven weeks ago, she defeated Samsonova 7-5, 6-3 at the same stage of Indian Wells to notch the first Top 20 win of her comeback.

Afterwards, Osaka spoke to the press about how she is now "embracing" a surface that has proved a challenge for her in the past.

"There's definitely beauty to it, and I'm taking a lot of inspiration from people who do well on it," she said. "I'm not expecting to be like Iga, but I just want to do the best with what I have."

Osaka, who returned from maternity leave in January and is now ranked No.197, started her clay season last week at the Rouen WTA 250 event, falling in the first round to former Roland Garros semifinalist Martina Trevisan.

However, this contest pitted her against another player whose best results have come away from the terre battue. Minnen, who lost from match point up to Emiliana Arango in the final round of qualifying, owns just one tour-level win on clay in her career -- over Dominika Cibulkova, all the way back at Stuttgart 2019.

How the match was won: No.69-ranked Minnen's strategy was clear from the outset: drop shots, drop shots and more drop shots. The Belgian repeatedly went to that well throughout the first set, and succeeded more often than not.

The tactic fended off a pair of early break points and kept the set close, but was not enough for Minnen to make any impact on the Japanese player's service games. Osaka was also increasingly ready for the shot as the set went on, and at 5-4 sprinted up to it to put away a backhand winner. Two points later, she sealed the set courtesy of a Minnen double fault.

Having edged the opener, Osaka rolled through the second set. Minnen's sole break point of the day came in the third game, but she sent a backhand slice well wide to squander it. Both players finished with 19 winners, but Osaka kept a cleaner sheet with 23 unforced errors to Minnen's 30.

In Osaka's words: "Overall, just really happy. I had a game plan with Wim and I was able to execute it. I do have a tendency to get down on myself, especially when I feel I should've converted [break points] or done better, so I was definitely telling myself to keep my head up and hopefully I'd have more opportunities.

"I slid a couple of times to my forehand pretty well, so I was excited about that. And she was hitting really good drop shots, but I think I got to a couple quite well. Movement-wise I'm feeling a lot more comfortable.

"I want to adapt and I'm trying to adapt, but there are things that work for me and have gotten me to where I am, so I don't want to start slicing and dicing. There's a basis to my game and I want to stick to that, but also respect the court. It's a work in progress for me, but I'm watching a lot more matches on clay, I'm trying to do my homework as best as I can.

"I would like to win a tournament on clay. It would be very ironic but also hilarious if my  first tournament [win of the comeback] would be on clay."