Osaka bows out to Garcia in Melbourne opener

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Wilson Blade 9

Naomi Osaka surprised everyone by unveiling her pregnancy shortly after withdrawing from last year’s Australian Open. This year, the new mom made a big return to Melbourne, but her campaign was cut short as she faced a defeat in the first round against Caroline Garcia, 6-4 7-6(2).

Caroline Garcia

Playing only her second tournament since giving birth to her daughter Shai in July 2023, Osaka never challenged Garcia in Monday’s last match scheduled on Rod Laver Arena. One break of serve, in the fifth game, was enough for the 16th seed to secure the first set, while the second set went with serve until the Frenchwoman claimed it in a tiebreak.

The pair’s lone previous encounter had also occurred at the Australian Open, where Osaka emerged victorious on her way to capturing the 2021 title, marking her fourth Grand Slam and, to date, her most recent one.

Former world No.1 Osaka, presently holding the No.831 ranking, is in the process of regaining her A-game; nevertheless, she has quickly reclaimed her prominence in the upper echelons of tennis fashion. The Japanese looked spectacular in a custom Nike dress adorned with snake-skin imitation insets, complemented by matching black tennis shoes. Adding to her ensemble, she donned a remarkable cropped-length gold bomber jacket featuring center back ruching. Accentuating her style, a Louis Vuitton necklace adorned her neck.

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