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SPORTS

World number two Naomi Osaka begins Roland Garros campaign with straight sets victory

WOMEN IN SPORTS By Reuters | May 30th 2021
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - May 30, 2021. Japan's Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania's Patricia Maria Tig. [REUTERS/Christian Hartmann]

World number two Naomi Osaka began her French Open campaign with a 6-4 7-6(4) win over Romanian Patricia Maria Tig on the opening day of the claycourt Grand Slam on Sunday.

The Japanese four-time major winner divided opinion ahead of the tournament with her decision to boycott press conferences citing mental health, but the debate made no impact on her performance on a sun-bathed Philippe Chatrier court.

The 23-year-old Osaka proved too powerful for the 63rd-ranked Tig and stamped her authority on the match early with a 5-2 lead but needed a second break of serve after the Romanian staged a fightback late on.

Tig saved a breakpoint and a matchpoint to take the second set into a tiebreaker before Osaka sealed it with a backhand winner to set up a second round meeting with another Romanian in Ana Bogdan, who beat Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 6-3. 

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