Osaka sets up Azarenka clash after weak first-round performance

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World No.1 Naomi Osaka made a shaky start to her Roland Garros campaign, allowing Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to bagel her in the first set and serve for the match twice before the top seed clawed into the second round 0-6 7-6(4) 6-1.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

In the entire first set Osaka won just nine points, while her 90th-ranked opponent made only five unforced errors on her way to leading by a set and a break. Still, when Slovakian Schmiedlova had a chance to capitalize on her lead and earn her career-best victory, she got tight and Osaka broke back at 5-4 and 6-5, winning the second set in a tiebreak before emphatically taking the decider, losing only six points in the last five games.

In the end, the stats read 10 aces, 36 winners and 38 unforced errors by Osaka, compared to 3 aces, 9 winners and 14 unforced errors by Schmiedlova.

Being a champion at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open, Osaka has now extended her winning streak at majors to 15 consecutive matches. If she plans to take that number to 16, she’ll have to step up big time, as her next obstacle is former world No.1 and fellow two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, who eliminated 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 7-6(4) in the first round on Tuesday.

The skeleton print includes details such as trophies, the Swoosh on the skeleton’s shoes, as well as the trees and geese that populate the campus of Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton.

While other Nike players are wearing flowers and bees, except for Serena Williams who has her own special outfit created by Virgil Abloh, the top-ranked Osaka is clad in a simple pleated Nike Summer Victory Skirt in oxygen purple and a matching tank top. I read that Osaka will be privileged by her own Nike line, but since she’s teamed up with Nike we haven’t seen anything but very plain looks on her.

During practice and cold periods, Osaka wears the Nike Summer Dry Long-Sleeve Top, a cropped design featuring a toile-inspired print, depicting pastoral scenes of skeletons amid tennis-specific details. Giving life to the solid purple separates is also the Baroque pack model of the Nike Air Zoom Zero Clay Shoe.


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