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MELBOURNE — Naomi Osaka has made an early statement about her Australian Open intentions with a crushing win over Alize Cornet as they prepare for next week’s grand slam.

World No.3 Osaka swept aside France’s Cornet 6-2 6-2 in their round-two clash in the WTA’s Gippsland Trophy.

The reigning US Open champion, who won at Melbourne Park in 2019 and made the third round last year, looked in ominous form against Cornet, the world No.53.

The Japan gun next faces British world No.371 Katie Boulter, who upset rising American teenager Coco Gauff 3-6 7-5 6-2.

Aryna Sabalenka’s red-hot run ended with Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi stopping the world No.7 in their second round clash.

Belarusian Sabalenka started 2021 by winning the Abu Dhabi WTA Open, which was her third consecutive title and extended her winning streak to 15 matches.

Naomi Osaka was in devastating form in her match against Alize Cornet at the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne, February 2, 2021 Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images

But that came to a shuddering halt with 35-year-old Kanepi taking the win 6-1 2-6 6-1 to advance to the third round of the Gippsland Trophy.

Australian Open defending champion Sofia Kenin booked a third-round berth in the Yarra Valley Classic when her opponent, Italian Camilla Giorgi retired mid-match with a leg injury.

American Kenin, the world No.4, had won the first set 7-5.

Another Brit Johanna Konta had a comfortable straight sets victory against American Bernarda Pera.


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