Stuttgart — World No 1 Naomi Osaka beat Hsieh Su-wei 6-4 6-3 in her first clay-court match of the season in Stuttgart on Thursday. US and Australian Open champion Osaka, who lost to Taiwanese veteran Hsieh in Miami in March, secured a place in the quarterfinals against Croatia’s Donna Vekic. Osaka, 21, broke Hsieh three times in total to beat her for the second time in three attempts in 2019, having also defeated her on the way to lifting the title in Melbourne. “She’s a tricky opponent. You never know what she’s going to do,” said Osaka who needed 84 minutes to dispatch the unconventional Hsieh, a win that ensures she will hold on to top spot for at least another week. She is less than 200 points ahead of Simona Halep in the WTA rankings, although the Romanian pulled out of this week’s tournament with a hip injury. Top-seed Osaka fought off the only two break points she faced, in a lengthy service hold for 2-all in the opening set, before breaking Hsieh in the following game. That ...

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