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By Erik Gudris | Thursday, January 21, 2016

Naomi Osaka

Japan’s Naomi Osaka is making herself known as a future WTA star. Learn more about this rising 18-year-old player.

Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Naomi Osaka is another rising young WTA star worth keeping an eye on. Learn more about this 18-year-old player who will next face Victoria Azarenka in the third round of the Australian Open.

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1. Vital Statistics: Osaka was born on October 16, 1997 in Osaka, Japan. She currently lives and trains in Florida.

2. Early Days: Osaka’s mother is Japanese while her father is Haitian. When she was very young, Osaka’s family moved to the United States. Osaka’s father introduced her to the sport at the age of three. Later, they moved to Florida so that Osaka could get more training.

3. Lost In Translation? Though Osaka currently represents Japan, she speaks English, but is not fluent in Japanese yet.

4.Stanford Success: In 2014, Osaka qualified for the main draw of the Stanford WTA event. In the first round, she beat former US Open champion Sam Stosur.

5. Major Breakthrough: At the 2016 Australian Open, the now current ranked No. 127 Osaka came through qualifying to reach the main draw. In the second round, she defeated No. 18 seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets.

6. On Bowing to Fans: "Yeah, it's the only part of my Japanese side. “Kind of because there were a lot of people cheering for me, and I kind of wanted to show how grateful I was. I always think that they're surprised that I'm Japanese. So the fact that there was like Japanese flags and stuff, it was, like, really touching."

7. Idol Worship: Osaka grew up admiring the career of Serena Williams.

8. Favorite Shot: Forehand

9. Goals: To Be No. 1 in World.

10. Social Savvy: Follow Osaka on Facebook.

(Source: WTA)


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