ritain’s Lily Miyazaki said her first ever Grand Slam victory will make a huge financial difference to her future in the sport.
The 27-year-old beat Margarita Betova of Russia 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round of the US Open, a victory that means she will rise to just outside the world’s top 150 and is guaranteed $123,000 (£98,600) for reaching the second round.
Miyazaki said she had been discussing the money with fellow Briton, Jodie Burrage, who plays her first-round match on Tuesday.
“I haven’t looked at the prize money breakdown,” she said, before being told exactly what she had earned. “That’s not too bad. Yeah, for sure it definitely helps financially and obviously points-wise with my ranking.
“I think the financial side is huge, because obviously tennis is a very expensive sport. We travel around a lot. Yeah, maybe now I can travel a bit more with a coach, things like that. Because when I’m playing at the ITF level I tend to travel on my own.”
At 27, Miyazaki was playing in the main draw of a slam for just the second time, having competed at Wimbledon last year. And after a slow start, when she was broken to trail 3-1, she showed the kind of form that took her through the qualifying event.
From 3-1 down, she won five straight games, targeting the Betova forehand, taking returns early and playing smart tennis throughout to take the opening set.
Betova, who was ranked as high as No 41 under her maiden name, Gasaparyan, had no answer to Miyazaki’s game and though the Russian saved one match point, she held serve to close out the match.
Born in Japan, Miyazaki answered some questions at the end of her press conference in Japanese, but she’ll be hoping to call on her experience in living in Switzerland when she plays Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in round two.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “She’s a great player obviously. Actually funny, when I lived in Switzerland, I played her when I was about nine years old and she must have been about seven or eight.
“I remember even back then she was taking the ball so early, half volleying, drive volleying, everything. Yeah, I expect a really tough match.”