Walk this way: Osaka hits the streets of New York for US Open boost

New York (AFP) –


Naomi Osaka knows how to get her US Open game face on: just go for a walk in New York City.

"You walk around and hear the lovely honking and stuff. There is a lot of energy -- you come back to the hotel very angry. I feel like it's a good exercise."

The Japanese star with New York roots took out her frustrations with the Big Apple's pesky pedestrians on Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Sunday, pummelling the Belarussian 6-0, 6-0.

Osaka, 20, was nearly flawless, making just three unforced errors in the rout to reach the US Open round of 16 for the first time in three tries.

It was her second straight win in less than three hours, after her 6-2, 6-0 drubbing of hobbled qualifier Julia Glushko in the second round.

She said her laser-like focus is one of the key improvements in her game which has helped her to a first career title at Indian Wells last March.

"I used to have if I would go up 3-0, then I would create this drama where I relax a lot, and then I let the person come back into the match.

"I think, for me, now that I'm able to beat people at easier scores like this, I think I have improved a lot. I wasn't necessarily thinking of the score when I was playing today. I was just thinking about the stuff that I had to do to keep winning."

Although she struggled for a time with the heightened expectations that accompanied her Indian Wells victory in March, Osaka said this week she has been able to set that aside.

"I feel like I had this whole thing right after Indian Wells," she said. "But I feel like now I’m over it, and I sort of went back into my old mindset that I have been at during the beginning of the year.

"So I don't really feel pressure or anything."