Naomi Osaka, playing her first match since the U.S. Open, advanced to the second round of the Pan Pacific Open when Australia’s Daria Saville retired with a knee injury in the second game of their evening encounter on Tuesday.
The unseeded Osaka is the defending champion having won in the tournament in 2019 before COVID-19 shut down the tournament for two years.
“I feel really bad right now because of how it ended,” the Japanese player told the fans at Ariake Coliseum. “I’ve been injured for most of the year so I just want people to clap for her because she’s a really amazing player.”
Osaka, who was 1-0 up when Saville withdrew, had lost the first match in her previous three tournaments, including the U.S. Open last month, although she reached the final of the Miami Open in April.
World No. 180 Hontama, who reached the second round at Wimbledon this year, gave the home fans hope in the second set as she matched world No.28 Shuai before tiring in the final three games.
Shuai, who won in Lyon earlier this year and reached the last 16 at the U.S. Open, will face second- seeded Caroline Garcia next. In the penultimate match of the day, fifth-seeded Haddad Maia brushed past Naito and next faces Osaka.