Osaka avoids early exit in 'rollercoaster' match

Naomi Osaka of Japan
Naomi Osaka has reached the second round of the French Open for the first time in three years [Getty Images]

Four-time major winner Naomi Osaka said her first-round win over Italy's Lucia Bronzetti at the French Open was "like a rollercoaster".

Japan's Osaka came through 6-1 4-6 7-5 for her first victory at Roland Garros in three years.

The victory could have been swifter for Osaka, who led 4-0 in the third set before Bronzetti mounted a late challenge.

The former world number one is playing in just her second major since returning from maternity leave in January.

"It really was like a rollercoaster," said Osaka, who lost in the first round of the Australian Open on her Grand Slam return.

"I was in my head, thinking I didn't win a match in Australia so I'd really love to win one here. Obviously that wasn't a good train of thought."

Her win in Paris sets up a likely second-round meeting with defending champion and heavy title favourite Iga Swiatek, who takes on France's Leolia Jeanjean on Monday.

Osaka said she watched Swiatek play a lot when she was pregnant, adding it would be a "big honour" to play the current world number one.

"I definitely do feel like it's a test to see where I'm at, but I wouldn't say I have low expectations of myself," she said.

"I feel like I'm the underdog, and I think I thrive in those situations."

Now ranked 134th in the world, Osaka has never advanced past the last 32 at the French Open, while her four Grand Slam triumphs have come on hard courts.

She reeled off five games in a row to wrap up the first set in just 27 minutes on a gusty Court Philippe-Chatrier.

But Bronzetti grew into the match and, after struggling to challenge Osaka's serve throughout the second set, converted a crucial break point at 5-4 to force a decider.

Remarkably, the world number 67 clawed her way back from a double break down in the third before Osaka broke once more to regain her lead and serve out the two hour back-and-forth contest.

The victory marks progress for the 26-year-old, who says she is "embracing clay a lot more" after previously struggling on the surface.

Ostapenko playing 'without any thoughts'

Jelena Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko has not been beyond the third round of the French Open women's singles since winning the title in 2017 [Getty Images]

Jelena Ostapenko said she is trying to play "without any thoughts" after cruising into the second round with a 6-4 7-5 win over Romanian Jaqueline Cristian.

The Latvian ninth seed, who has a reputation for being hot-headed on court, has not been beyond the third round of the French Open women's singles since winning her only major singles title at Roland Garros in 2017.

"Of course I'm more mature now, it's a good thing and maybe it's a bad thing a bit," Ostapenko said.

"When I played in 2017 I was kind of fearless so I'm working to get that thing back and the most important thing is just to play without any thoughts."

She will play Tatjana Maria of Germany or Dane Clara Tauson next.

But another former champion Barbora Krejcikova fell to a shock loss to Swiss world number 76 Viktorija Golubic.

Czech 24th seed Krejcikova, who was victorious at Roland Garros in 2021, lost 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 on Court Suzanne Lenglen as Golubic reached the second round for the first time since 2016.

Elsewhere, Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska, seeded 30th, came from a set down to beat Australian wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6 6-3 6-3.

French home hope and 21st seed Caroline Garcia fought back from a set down to survive a scare against German qualifier Eva Lys, winning 4-6 7-5 6-2, while Ukrainian 18th seed Marta Kostyuk also came back to beat Brazilian qualifier Laura Pigossi 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-4.

But Russian 29th seed Veronika Kudermetova became the first seed to fall with a 6-2 6-4 loss to Czech Marie Bouzkova.