Serena Williams beaten by Naomi Osaka in straight sets at Miami Open

What a champ! The Michigan native has won the Miami Open a whopping eight times

WTA No. 1 Simona Halep is among them, going as far as to say that Williams should have been No. 1 in Indian Wells, since she left at No. 1 in the world.

Naomi Osaka stunned the returning Serena Williams in the first round at the Miami Open on Wednesday, adding the 23-time grand slam victor to her growing list of scalps.

The world number 22's serve - which was being clocked at an impressive 115 miles per hour - as well as the power in her ground strokes allowed her to stretch the lead to 5-3.

James Blake, Miami Open tournament director, said afterwards that: "It makes sense to protect someone who goes on maternity leave".

Victoria Azarenka, a two-time grand slam victor, similarly wasn't seeded when she returned to tennis in 2017 after giving birth in late 2016. "But anyone who is counting Serena out is doing so at their peril". But, on this night against Venus she didn't quite play like the best player in the world.

Serena (and all mothers) should be protected by the WTA and allowed to use their protected ranking for seeding, if applicable. "She had a kid, which we should all be celebrating, so when she comes back there should be a grace period where she can still be seeded", Blake added. She had never lost before the Round of 16.

Williams, who made her WTA Tour comeback in the Californian Desert earlier this month after a 14-month absence to have her first child, struggled for consistency in a one-hour-and-18-minute defeat. As a result, her upcoming opening round match on Wednesday will be against fellow unseeded player and newly-crowned Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka, who defeated Russia's Daria Kasatkina for her first-ever title.

However, she can gain entry to eight tournaments in 12 months - including two Grand Slams - with her protected world number one ranking.

The American won a 23rd Grand Slam before becoming the top-ranked player in women's tennis when she defeated her sister Venus in straight sets to win the 2017 Australian Open final in January a year ago.

"I think that's going to be a huge story, maybe the story of the year", said Roger Federer, hoping she could combine tennis and motherhood successfully.

"I don't know if anybody knows this but Serena's my favourite player". Having a part-ownership of the tournament is something that I will look forward to.

"I have learned a lot about myself", he said. "It was good to play and try to get in the rhythm and get into the swing again", she said.

"Just playing against her is kind of like a dream for me so I'm very grateful that I was able to play her and even better that I was able to win".

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