French Open: Naomi Osaka overcomes nerves in tight opener to get major 'honor'

Osaka edges out Lucia Bronzetti to set up a probable French Open second-round clash against Iga Swiatek.

by Dzevad Mesic
French Open: Naomi Osaka overcomes nerves in tight opener to get major 'honor'
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Naomi Osaka earned a hard-fought win on the opening day of the French Open and as a reward she will very likely get a crack at world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. 

On Sunday, former world No. 1 Osaka took on 67th-ranked Lucia Bronzetti and earned a 6-1 4-6 7-5 win in just over two hours of play. 

When Osaka took to the court on Sunday, she was playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2022 and by defeating Bronzetti, she also got her first French Open win since 2021. 

Now, Osaka is likely set for one of the most difficult tasks in women's tennis - and that's playing three-time French Open champion Swiatek at Roland Garros - if the Pole beats qualifier world No. 148 Leolia Jeanjean, her next opponent will be the Japanese four-time Grand Slam champion. 

After beating Bronzetti, Osaka admitted she would really like to face Swiatek next because she considers facing the Pole at Roland Garros as "an honor."

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Since starting her post-pregnancy comeback, Osaka has said several times that her goal is to return to being one of the best in the world and win Grand Slams again. When she meets Swiatek at Roland Garros, it will be a perfect opportunity for Osaka to make a major statement. 

How Osaka defeated Bronzetti to set up a probable meeting versus Swiatek?

Osaka got off to a pretty fast start to her opening match at Roland Garros, claiming back-to-back breaks in the fourth and sixth games to easily win the first set.

After easily losing the opener, Bronzetti regrouped at the start of the second set and she managed to hold on to her serve the first couple of service games. In the seventh game, the first break points of the second set were seen but Bronzetti saved two consecutive break points to avoid going down by a set and a break. 

Then in the 10th game - with Bronzetti leading 5-4 and Osaka serving to stay in the second set - the Italian got her first break of the match to send the match into a third set.

After losing the first set in a heartbreaking way, Osaka started the decider with back-to-back breaks and a 4-0 lead. Then stunningly, Osaka lost the next five games as Bronzetti took a 5-4 lead.

But then just when it seemed that the whole momentum was on Bronzetti's side, Osaka routinely served out the 10th game to tie the decider to five games apiece - then earned a break for a 6-5 lead before serving out for the match in the following game.

Naomi Osaka Lucia Bronzetti Iga Swiatek