Australian Open 2021: Naomi Osaka saves butterfly in middle of match

2 weeks ago
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Naomi Osaka’s 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 27 seed Ons Jabeur on Friday was far from a careful one. She was able to overcome 28 unforced errors and saved six of seven break points in the eventual win.

Osaka was far more careful in arguably the most interesting non-tennis moment of the tournament when, during the second set, she was informed of a butterfly landing on her leg before a serve. She then looked down at the insect and was able to carefully bring it off her leg and into safety off of the court.

The move drew an applause from an Australian Open crowd that will not be allowed to return for some time.

Perhaps it was a moment she needed to calm her nerves against an opponent she was facing for the first time in her career.

“I was really nervous and scared because I didn’t know if she was going to hit a drop shot on any ball,” Osaka said of her Tunisian opponent after the match.

Osaka now moves on to the fourth round of the competition where she will face Garbine Muguruza. The win also puts last year’s third round loss — when she was stunned at Melbourne Park by a then-15-year-old Coco Gauff who became the youngest person to beat a top-5 player since the 1991 US Open — behind her. 

It was a moment she felt good about and commemorated it on Twitter with a reference to the bug whose life she probably saved.

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