Tennis: Swiatek, Osaka in potential French Open 2nd round clash

AFP , Thursday 23 May 2024

Defending champion Iga Swiatek and fellow four-time Grand Slam title winner Naomi Osaka could clash in the French Open second round after the draw was made on Thursday.

Iga Swiatek
FILE - Poland's Iga Swiatek holds the trophy as she celebrates winning the women's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic in three sets, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday, June 10, 2023. Photo: AP


Top seed and world number one Swiatek will take on a qualifier in her opener with Osaka facing Lucia Bronzetti of Italy in her first-round tie.

Swiatek is bidding to win a fifth major and fourth French Open title.

"It feels like home here," said Swiatek who arrives at the tournament with clay-court titles in Madrid and Rome under her belt.

"I have been working hard to play at a high level."

Former world number one Osaka, now ranked 134, has never got past the third round in Paris.

Bronzetti, the world number 48, has yet to win a main draw match at Roland Garros in two visits.

Osaka, 26, has endured a bittersweet relationship with the French Open.

In 2021, she was fined for opting out of mandatory media commitments before withdrawing from the competition after just one match insisting she was protecting her mental health.

Osaka missed the 2023 edition due to being pregnant before giving birth to a baby girl in July.

Swiatek, meanwhile, is bidding to become the first player to lift three successive women's titles in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007.

The 22-year-old Pole is also aiming to join Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Henin in lifting the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen four times in the Open era.

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