Naomi Osaka pulls through Anna Karolina Schmiedlova scare at French Open
Naomi Osaka kept alive her bid to win three Grand Slams in a row by beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 0-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 at the French Open.
Unseeded Slovakian Schmiedlova handed US Open and Australian Open champion Osaka a bagel in the opening set of their first-round match before rain halted play with the Japanese leading 3-0 in the second set.
But world No 90 Schmiedlova broke Osaka's serve to draw level at 3-3 before the top seed twice broke Schmiedlova when serving for the match and she then won the subsequent tie-break to force a deciding set.
World No 1 Osaka clicked back into gear and she breezed through the decider as Schmiedlova made it 10 Grand Slam tournaments in a row in which she has exited at the first-round stage.
She will be allowed no such lapses in the second round, however, when she faces Victoria Azarenka.
Former champion Jelena Ostapenko suffered a second successive first-round loss at Roland Garros at the hands of Azarenka,
Victoria Azarenka defeated former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko
Since her shock run to the title in 2017, the Latvian has not won a match at Roland Garros, with her latest defeat coming 6-4 7-6 (7-4) against the Belarusian.
Admittedly it was a tough draw against former world No 1 Azarenka but the defeat continued a poor year for Ostapenko, whose ranking has slipped to 39.
Defending champion Simona Halep followed Osaka onto Court Philippe Chatrier and was also pushed to a deciding set by Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.
Halep finally won her maiden Grand Slam title last year in her fourth final and is again the favourite to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.