World

Osaka beaten by Anisimova in French Open first round

Amanda Anisimova ended Naomi Osaka’s Australian Open title defence in January
Dates: 22 May-5 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka was beaten by Amanda Anisimova in a high quality first-round encounter at the French Open.

American Anisimova, who ended Osaka’s Australian Open title defence in January, won 7-5 6-4.

Osaka had struggled with an Achilles injury in the build-up to the Grand Slam but was let down most by her serve, including eight double faults.

Anisimova, a semi-finalist in 2019, will face Croatia’s Donna Vekic next.

Osaka said she had initially worried about the reception she would receive on her return to Paris after withdrawing from last year’s event because of mental health struggles.

Both she and Anisimova were warmly received by the crowd on Suzanne Lenglen, with the fans rallying behind Osaka as she fought to keep Anisimova at bay.

Osaka’s rustiness was most evident in her serving, with several of her double faults coming at crucial moments to hand Anisimova the initiative.

After fighting back from an early break down, Osaka was broken on a huge double fault at 5-5 in the opening set.

Anisimova then produced a near-flawless service game to take the opening set, sealing it in 46 minutes with a forehand winner.

The young American also dealt with more pressure from Osaka in the second set, first breaking the Japanese on a double fault and then saving three break points in the next game to keep a 5-3 lead.

Anisimova created three match points on her serve and looked shaky as she sent two into the net, before a fiery strike down the line wrapped up the match.

Elsewhere, 2020 semi-finalist Petra Kvitova advanced with a 7-6 (7-0) 6-1 win over Hungary’s Anna Bondar.

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