Naomi Osaka wins at French Open for 1st time since 2021

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Naomi Osaka labored past unseeded Italian Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the first round of the French Open on Sunday to claim her first win at Roland Garros in three years.

Returning from a 15-month maternity break this year, Osaka had fallen in the first round at the Australian Open in January but looked set to breeze into the second round in Paris as the former world No. 1 bombarded Bronzetti from the baseline.

The four-time Grand Slam champion had not won at the French Open since 2021, when she ultimately withdrew from the event after clashing with tournament officials for skipping her mandatory media obligations.

“There were moments I played pretty well, but I was pretty nervous and got really tight,” Osaka said during an on-court interview.

Other past winners of major titles who reached the second round on Sunday included Sofia Kenin and Jelena Ostapenko. Barbora Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open champion, lost 7-6 (3), 6-4 to Viktorija Golubic — making the 24th-seeded Krejcikova 0-3 in Paris since going 7-0 three years ago to take the title.

Osaka acknowledged that she was thinking about her long stretch between victories at a Grand Slam before she regained her composure in the third set.

“I was kind of, in my head, thinking I didn’t win a match in Australia, so I’d really love to win one here,” she said. “Obviously that was wasn’t a good train of thought. … I kind of focused on it a bit too much instead of trying to play point by point, and I think towards the end I was able to erase that thought from my head.”

Osaka dominated the first set on a gusty Philippe Chatrier court to wrap it up in 28 minutes, but her unforced errors rose steeply in the second, allowing Bronzetti to break in the crucial game at 5-4 and force a decider.

But Osaka, 26, got back on track in the deciding set and had the opportunity to break for a 5-0 lead but appeared to implode as world No. 67 Bronzetti clawed her way back into the contest.

Osaka pounced for a crucial break in the 11th game before finally clinching the back-and-forth battle.

No. 48-ranked Bronzetti has never won at Roland Garros in three appearances. Her career record in Grand Slam tournaments is 3-10. In her most recent match at the Morocco Open quarterfinals last week, she led American Peyton Stearns 5-0 in the third set but ended up losing.

Osaka’s next opponent figures to be top seed and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, the two-time defending French Open champion. Swiatek will face French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean in her first-round match Monday.

“I’m honestly really excited [about likely playing Swiatek],” Osaka said after her victory Sunday. “I watched her a lot when I was pregnant and honestly, I think it’s an honor to play her in the French Open, because she’s won more than once here. For sure, it’s a very big honor and challenge for me.”

Kenin came back to get past Laura Siegemund 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Kenin was the Australian Open champion and French Open runner-up in 2020 and now will face No. 21 Caroline Garcia of France.

Amanda Anisimova, an American who reached the 2019 semifinals at Roland Garros as a teenager, defeated Rebecca Šramková 7-6, 6-4. Anisimova had been 1-3 since returning from a groin muscle injury that sidelined her since she reached the Australian Open’s fourth round in January before losing to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka.

“Not having the best start to my Europe swing wasn’t great. But I was going into it trying to really learn what I did wrong in those tournaments and see what I can adjust,” Anisimova said. “I’m just happy with the way I played and I fought.”

ESPN’s D’Arcy Maine, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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