Naomi Osaka exits French Open in first round

American Amanda Anisimova knocked out four-time major champion Naomi Osaka in one of the marquee French Open first-round matches.

Anisimova, the 27th seed, prevailed 7-5, 6-4 in a rematch of a tight Australian Open third round won by the American.

Osaka struggled with her serve — eight double faults, first-serve percentage of 45 — and had 29 unforced errors to 13 winners.

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Osaka was unseeded after taking two breaks from the sport last year, including withdrawing from the French Open before her second-round match.

Back then, she announced that she suffered “long bouts of depression,” one day after tennis’ Grand Slams threatened disqualification or suspension if she continued to skip press conferences, as she had announced before the event, citing mental health.

“For the most part I think I’m OK,” Osaka said last week after deciding to do a pre-tournament press conference. “When I first came here, I was very worried. … I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would just kind of bump into them. But I think everyone has been really positive, for the most part.”

She entered Roland Garros with a lack of match prep on clay, including withdrawing from her last tournament with an Achilles injury.

“There is no way I’m not going to play this tournament,” she said last week. “Of course you kind of have to manage things, but at the same time, I’m going to pop a few painkillers, it is what it is.

“There is a limited amount of years that I could play tennis, so I have to make the best out of it.”

The two-time U.S. Open and two-time Australian Open champion’s best result at the French was making the third round in 2016, 2018 and 2019. She has never beaten a player on clay ranked as high as Anisimova.

“It’s been a really great time,” this clay-court season, Osaka said last week. “I honestly defended all of the points that I had to [from 2021], so I’m good.”

Anisimova, who broke through in 2019 to make the French Open semifinals at age 17, is at her highest ranking since September 2020.

She gets former top-20 player Donna Vekic of Croatia in the second round with No. 4 Maria Sakkari of Greece potentially waiting in the third.

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