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Roland Garros: Osaka vs Bronzetti- Things we learned...

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Published Time: 26.05.2024 - 13:05:50 Modified Time: 26.05.2024 - 13:05:50

Osaka showed no signs of nerves early, as she blitzed her way through the first, hammering the ball off both wings, and racing through the final five games of the 28-minute opening set.  Roland Garros



Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has never been known for clay prowess, but she entered her first-round match with Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti feeling confident, and with good reason.  

Osaka’s first Roland-Garros win since 2021 below… 

Sunday’s encounter was a tale of two Osakas. At first confident and assertive, the 26-year-old struggled to hit her marks in the second and third sets and had to scratch and claw to get past feisty Bronzetti. 

Osaka showed no signs of nerves early, as she blitzed her way through the first, hammering the ball off both wings, and racing through the final five games of the 28-minute opening set. 

The second set was a tug-of-war, with Bronzetti shoring up her game and pushing Osaka to the brink. Eventually it was the 25-year-old Italian who came through, converting her second set point on Osaka’s 17th unforced error of the set, to force a decider. 

Osaka righted the ship in the third set, breaking twice in succession and opening up a 4-0 lead, but was reeled in again by 67th-ranked Bronzetti, who played rock-solid tennis and took advantage of Osaka’s nerves to take five games on the trot for a 5-4 advantage.

Osaka recovered, shaking off the rough patch to win the final three games and lock up her victory in two hours and one minute. 

“I think there were moments that I played pretty well,” Osaka said on court. “Obviously there were moments that I was really nervous, I got very tight – I’m just glad that I was able to come back from down in the third, so I’m pretty happy.” 

Osaka finished with 31 winners and 45 unforced errors, while Bronzetti hit 11 winners and 22 unforced errors. 

Osaka’s comeback from maternity leave commenced in January, but the 26-year-old’s losing streak at the Slams had stretched back more than two years. Osaka lost her third-round match at the 2022 Australian Open (Amanda Anisimova), then dropped three consecutive first-rounders, at 2022 Roland-Garros (Anisimova), 2022 US Open (Danielle Collins) and the 2024 Australian Open (Caroline Garcia). 

She admitted the streak was on her mind when she spoke in her post-match press conference.

"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," she said. "But I would love to not have to go through that rollercoaster again."

The former world No.1 improves to 58-19 lifetime at the majors, and 8-5 at Roland-Garros. 

On Saturday Osaka expressed satisfaction in recent developments in her clay-court game. She has made no secret the fact that she yearns to play better on the surface, and so far this year she has achieved that end, winning five of eight matches and notching back-to-back top-20 wins for the first time on clay (at Rome). 

Though she struggled mightily at times on Sunday, her late recovery should have her feeling good her progress heading into round two.

“I think I have made a significant amount of progress, and I feel like can see that throughout the tournaments that I have played, but I feel like I have dedicated a lot of time to learning clay,” Osaka said on Saturday in Paris. "I just want to do well, and I want to keep beating really good players.”

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