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French Open: Osaka knocked out as top seed Swiatek advances

NAOMI Osaka was eliminated in the first round of the French Open in Paris today, 12 months after controversially quitting the tennis tournament.

The error-plagued Japanese star was defeated 7-5, 6-4 by Amanda Anisimova of the United States, serving up eight double faults and committing 29 unforced errors.

Former world number one and four-time major winner Osaka withdrew from Roland Garros in 2021 when she refused to honour mandatory media commitments before revealing she had been suffering from depression.

Osaka was fined and threatened with a Grand Slam ban for her opposition to news conferences which she likened to “kicking people when they’re down”.

“It’s tough to see Naomi Osaka in the first round so I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said 27th-seeded Anisimova.

“I knew I had to play my best tennis and the conditions were not easy.”

On a cold, damp day on Court Suzanne Lenglen, there were four breaks of serve in the first six games.

Osaka, who has never made it past the third round in Paris, led briefly for 5-4 but was broken for the third time in the 11th game on the back of her fourth double fault.

Anisimova, the 27th seed who ended Osaka’s Australian Open title defence in January, served it out to love as the Japanese star was left to rue her 17 unforced errors in the opener.

Osaka, with her left ankle taped to protect an injury which forced her to sit out of the Italian Open, was broken again in the seventh game of the second set.

Anisimova, who made the semi-finals in 2019, secured victory on a third match point with a sharp forehand down the line.

Meanwhile, French Open favourite Iga Swiatek breezed into the second round at Roland Garros, beating Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-0 to extend her winning run to 29 matches.

World number one Swiatek has won her last five tournaments and is bidding for a second French Open in three attempts.

The 2020 champion will play Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska or American Alison Riske for a spot in the last 32.


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