No. 1 Iga Swiatek battles back from match point to win French Open thriller over Naomi Osaka

Iga Swiatek advanced past Naomi Osaka in her quest for a fourth French Open championship. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)
Iga Swiatek advanced past Naomi Osaka in her quest for a fourth French Open championship. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

Naomi Osaka had Iga Swiatek on the ropes.

But Swiatek dug deep on Wednesday to battle back from match point to secure a 7-6, 1-6, 7-5 thriller over the four-time major champion in the second round of the French Open.

For Swiatek, the win keeps alive her quest for a three-peat at Roland Garros. The loss marks disappointment for Osaka, who was on the verge of a milestone win in her second Grand Slam tournament since returning to tennis from the birth of her child.

Swiatek battled to a 7-6 tiebreak win in the first set. Osaka then dominated the second set to set up a drama-filled third. Osaka broke Swiatek's first serve of the third set to put the three-time (2020, 2022, 2023) French Open champion on the ropes en route to a 4-1 lead.

But with the match on the line, Swiatek went on to secure her first break of the set with Osaka leading, 5-3 and serving for the win. Osaka faulted on her first serve at match point. She then hit Swiatek's return into the net to send the game to deuce. Swiatek won the next two points to secure the break.

She then held serve to tie the match and broke Osaka again to take a 6-5 lead. With the match on her racket, Swiatek held serve for the victory.

Swiatek advances to take on the winner between Croatia's Jana Fett and Czechia's Marie Bouzkova in the third round. Her quest for a fourth French Open and fifth Grand Slam title carries on.

For Swiatek — who's dominant on clay — she avoided the first loss of her career in the opening three rounds at the French Open. She also extended her Grand Slam streak of advancing to the third round to 17 tournaments. A loss on Wednesday would have been the first of her career in a Grand Slam to a player ranked outside the top 100. Instead, she improved to 20-0 in such matches.

Osaka, of course, is no ordinary player ranked outside the top 100. At her peak, she was the best player in the game, having won the US Open twice and the Australian Open twice from 2018 to 2021. She entered Wednesday's match ranked No. 134 in the world.

She left Wednesday to a standing ovation from an appreciative Roland Garros crowd.

Osaka's opening-round win over Lucia Bronzetti was her first at a Grand Slam since the 2022 Australian Open. It was her first at the French Open since she withdrew in 2021 amid a media blackout as she cited a bout with depression. Osaka went on that year to withdraw from Wimbledon to take "some personal time with friends and family."

She played in the Olympics in her home country of Japan and at the US Open in 2021, advancing to the third round of each tournament. She then won two matches at the 2022 Australian Open, which stood as her last win at a Grand Slam before Sunday's victory in the first round at Roland Garros. She skipped Wimbledon again in 2022 and lost in the first round that year at the French Open and US Open.

She then withdrew from the 2023 Australian Open shortly before announcing she was taking time away due to her pregnancy. She vowed at the time to return to the Australian Open in 2024, which she did. Her best result since saw her advance to the quarterfinals in Qatar in February. Wednesday's effort against the No. 1 player in the world on her best surface showed a glimpse of the form that made Osaka a four-time major champion.