Naomi Osaka: End of Hopes In The Australian Open

Naomi Osaka-BLATZOO Reviews

In a return to the Grand Slam tennis arena following a hiatus for maternity, Naomi Osaka replicated her departure. Succumbing to an initial-round defeat with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) setback against Caroline Garcia at Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open on Monday

Engaging in a formidable clash with the seasoned French 16th seed, characterized by an assertive baseline playing style akin to Osaka. Naomi Osaka inevitably posed a substantial challenge for the two-time Australian Open champion. She re-entered the realm of tournament tennis a mere fortnight ago following a hiatus lasting 15 months.

The power that took Osaka to four Grand Slam titles. Before, she took time off to have a daughter Shai was still there. But, it would always take Osaka, 26, time to rediscover her accuracy in clutch moments.

Naomi Osaka-BLATZOO Reviews

Lost the Match To Caroline Garcia

A double fault gave Garcia, 30, the first break point of the match in the fifth game. So, the former world No. 4 converted it with the willingness to edge ahead.

Osaka had a sniff of a breakback at deuce in the eighth game but dumped a routine backhand into the net. Garcia held with back-to-back aces before going on to take the set.

The erstwhile Japanese top-ranked player secured victory in her initial three service games of the second set without conceding a point. However, Garcia’s exceptional serving prowess remained unyielding, leaving Osaka unable to exert meaningful pressure on it.

In her 2021 Melbourne Park triumph, Osaka overcame Garcia with a commanding 6-2, 6-3 victory. However, the current encounter proved markedly more intense. It also culminated in a closely contested second set that ultimately settled in a tiebreaker.

Still hitting the mark with her first serves. Garcia raced to a big lead and clinched the win on her first match point. Hence, Osaka dumped another backhand into the net.

Naomi Osaka Early Exit In The Australian Open

“The competitive in me is frustrated that I’m not winning these matches, of course,” Osaka told a post-match news conference. “So I wouldn’t say, like, this comeback is how I thought because I’m delusional enough to think I could have won the tournament.”

She smiled at that point, and added: “I think my delusion is what allows me to win the tournaments.”

“I have a lot of respect for Naomi as a person and as a player — 15 months she’s been away,” Garcia said. “I’m very glad to see her back. Six months after giving birth, she’s playing quite amazing already. We have to watch out.”

Osaka was one of three past Australian Open champions who returned to play at Melbourne Park for the first time as a mother. Osaka joined 2016 winner Angelique Kerber and 2018 champion Caroline Wozniacki.

It was Osaka’s earliest exit in eight visits to the Australian Open and her third successive loss in the opening round of a Grand Slam. After she fell at the first hurdle at the French and US Opens in 2022.

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