Saturday, September 18, 2021

Naomi Osaka begins Roland Garros campaign with straight sets win

Osaka has never been past the third round at Roland Garros before, and she arrived in Paris with only three matches on clay left for her to be played after early setbacks in Madrid and Rome

The four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka had to dig really deep to defeat Romanian Patricia Maria Tig 6-4 7-6(4) on the first day of the Roland Garros on Sunday, aiming to boost on her record at the claycourt major.

Osaka has never been past the third round at Roland Garros before, and she arrived in Paris with only three matches on clay left for her to be played after early setbacks in Madrid and Rome.

But the four-time major champion from Japan exhibited no indications of being influenced by the heated controversy that followed her announcement that she will not do press conferences at the French Open due to mental health worries on a sun-drenched Philippe Chatrier court.

However, Naomi’s media restrain did not extend to a post-match court-side interview in which she was asked about how she modifies her game to the surface.

While addressing the press, she said

It’s a work in progress. Hopefully the more I play the better I play. I’M really glad that I won. It’s a beautiful court. I’ve only played two matches here (on Philippe Chatrier), one before the roof and one now, so hopefully I’ll keep it going

The 23-year-old Osaka, who was forced to step down from last year’s tournament due to a hamstring injury, avoided protracted rallies and appeared to be too forceful against the 63rd-ranked Tig.

She promptly defined her superiority in the match, sprinting an a 5-2 lead with winners on both her forehand and backhand. After saving three setpoints, the Romanian mounted a came ack in the serve at 4-5.

Osaka appeared to have been energized by the break of serve, as she broke Tig to take the first set, approaching to the net and a backhand off her opponent’s attempted dropshot.

The second set went to Tig, who saved a breakpoint and a match point to force a tiebreaker.

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