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Osaka Avoids Shock French Open Exit

Osaka Avoids Shock French Open Exit

Naomi Osaka narrowly avoided a shock first-round exit at the French Open as she battled back to defeat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

The Japanese world number one is aiming to secure the clay-court title at Roland Garros to add to her US Open and Australian Open crowns.

However, Osaka appeared set to be only the second top seed to go out of the tournament at the first-round stage after Angelique Kerber in 2017, when her Slovakian opponent romped to the first set before breaking serve in the second.

But, as world number 90 Schmeidlova moved to within two points of victory, Osaka dramatically fought back to win the set on a tie-break and then eased to a 0-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-1 win in the decider.

 

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The 21-year-old will now go head-to-head with former world number one and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka, who defeated former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 7-6 (7/4) in their first-round tie.

Looking ahead to facing Osaka, the Belarusian said: “Just the usual second round match. “But it’s going to be exciting for me. I love to challenge myself against the best players.”

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