MIAMI (AFP) - Naomi Osaka's bid for the "Sunshine Double" of Indian Wells and Miami Open titles ended with a straight-sets loss to Elina Svitolina in Florida on Friday (March 23).
Japan's Osaka came into the second-round match against fourth-seeded Ukrainian Svitolina on an eight-match winning streak that included her dream run to the Indian Wells title and a first-round triumph here over 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
But it was Svitolina who emerged with a 6-4, 6-2 victory thanks to a solid service performance that saw her win nearly 80 per cent of points on her first serve.
Svitolina saved five of six break points she faced and broke Osaka four times en route to the victory in an hour and 23 minutes.
After staving off Osaka in a close first set, Svitolina raced to a 4-0 lead in the second.
A reeling Osaka finally held serve with an ace for 4-1, but Svitolina produced an ace of her own to win the next game.
Osaka saved two match points before holding for 5-2, but she was unable to convert three break points in the next game as Svitolina sealed the win.
Svitolina next faces Australian Daria Gavrilova, a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 winner over Germany's Andrea Petkovic.
Osaka, meanwhile, will have time to regroup after a whirlwind fortnight. The 20-year-old leaped 22 places in the rankings to No. 22 in the world on the strength of her surprise Indian Wells win.
She conquered her nerves to beat Williams on Wednesday, another setback to the US great's return from a 13-month absence to have her first baby - daughter Alexis Olympia.