By Rory Carroll
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Naomi Osaka continued her bid for a second straight U.S. Open title with a business-like 6-3 6-4 win over Magda Linette on Thursday to book her place in the third round.
After struggling with nerves in her gruelling first-round match, Osaka was calm and collected on Louis Armstrong Stadium court, smacking 13 winners and playing stout defence to dispatch Poland’s Linette.
After a one-sided first set, trouble brewed for the world number one when Linette raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second on a sun-soaked court.
But the 21-year-old Japanese kept her composure and battled back, hitting a deft volley on match point to seal the win before an adoring crowd including former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick and former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant.
Next up for Osaka is either qualifier Timea Babos or 15-year-old American wildcard Coco Gauff.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Ed Osmond)