Cyprus Mail
French Open Sport Tennis

Osaka survives huge scare, Azarenka beats former champ

World No.1 and top seed Naomi Osaka flirted with an opening-round exit at the French Open on Tuesday but recovered from a first-set horror show to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 0-6 7-6 6-1

Naomi Osaka survived a major scare to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and continue her winning grand slam run in the opening round of the French Open.

The 21-year-old from Japan won both the US Open and Australian Open titles to climb to the top of the world rankings and had spoken of her desire to win all four this year.

That looked a long way away when she lost the opening set to love in just 20 minutes, and Schmiedlova twice served for the match in the second set, but Osaka dug in to win 0-6 7-6 (4) 6-1.

She is likely to have to raise her level significantly if she wants to progress any further with former world number one Victoria Azarenka her next opponent.

Elsewhere, former champion Jelena Ostapenko suffered a second successive first-round loss at the French Open.

Since her shock run to the title in 2017, the Latvian has not won a match at Roland Garros, with her latest defeat coming 6-4 7-6 (7/4) against Victoria Azarenka.

Admittedly it was a tough draw against the former world number one but the defeat continued a poor year for Ostapenko, whose ranking has slipped to 39.

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