Qatar Open: Naomi Osaka Reaches First Quarterfinal In Almost Two Years

Osaka has reflected on how becoming a mother has affected her attitude towards tennis, saying “It feels like I’m starting new.” (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

By Amy Woodyatt, CNN

(CNN) — Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka has reached her first quarterfinal in almost two years, after her opponent Lesia Tsurenko withdrew with an elbow injury at the Qatar Open.

Four-time grand slam champion Osaka made her return to tennis in January after spending over a year away from the sport when she became a mother and welcomed a baby girl with her boyfriend, rapper Cordae.

She had also taken time away from competitive tennis and made several highly publicized disclosures about her struggles with mental health in 2021.

She pulled out of the French Open that year and revealed she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first major championship in 2018.

Osaka, who is currently ranked No.747, is the second lowest-ranked woman to reach a WTA 1000 quarterfinal, according to the WTA.

She has had a strong start to the tournament with back to back victories, first defeating Caroline Garcia 7-5 6‑4 and then edging Petra ­Martic in a straight sets win 6-3 7-6 (9).

This will be Osaka’s WTA Tour quarterfinal since she reached the Miami Open final in March of 2022, where she lost out to Iga Swiatek.

The 26 year old has said that becoming a mother has changed her perspective on life, telling CNN’s Becky Anderson this month that “things that used to bother me, don’t bother me anymore.

“And I’m also a lot more aware of energy,” added Osaka. “So just knowing like, I don’t have time to spend on distractions, or just things that aren’t worth my time.”

“It feels like I’m starting new. And I don’t really feel as like heavy or as pressured as I did before. And in a way it almost feels like I’m doing this for myself to see where I can go.”

Osaka will face Czech Karolina Pliskova, who is also another former world No.1, in the quaterfinals.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.