Top seed Osaka defeated Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-0 in Tuesday’s second-round match at the Madrid Open.
Japan’s Osaka, winner of the last two Grand Slams, said she had to conquer her inner demons to finish off a difficult match.
“In the third set, I just, like, went zombie mode,” she said.
“I just thought of everything that I had to do to win – not necessarily the outcome, but just like the little things in between every game.
“The match was basically on my racquet, she wasn’t going for winners.
“The points ended by me making a winner or an unforced error. But I was a bit unfocused in the second set.”
Third seed and two-time champion Simona Halep of Romania ended the hopes of Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.
The Briton had made a dash to Madrid on Sunday evening after playing the Rabat clay final. Konta won her opening match against Alison Riske but could not match Halep, the defending French Open champion.
“I feel good every time when I come to Madrid and I’m happy to be back and winning matches,” Halep said.
“It was a good match. Both of us played very well and, in the end, I was a bit stronger mentally and I found a rhythm.”
Fourth seed Angelique Kerber withdrew after rolling her right ankle during training, sending Petra Martic into the third round.
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