"I'm honestly really excited": Naomi Osaka steps into second round of French Open with eyes on Iga Swiatek

Monday, 27 May 2024 at 02:30
Naomi Osaka is looking forward to the possibility of facing Iga Swiatek after advancing to the second round of the French Open. The Japanese player debuted with a victory in a tough battle against Italian Lucia Bronzetti (No. 48), winning 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
She could play against the world No. 1 next, though the Polish player must first secure her spot by winning her debut against local favorite Leolia Jeanjean (No. 148).

Osaka set for possible clash with Swiatek

The 26-year-old Osaka mentioned that she would be honored to face Swiatek, especially at Roland Garros, where the Polish player has won three titles. Despite usually struggling on clay, Osaka has shown promise by reaching the Round of 16 at the Rome Open, with two consecutive victories over top-20 players.
Both Osaka and Swiatek have four Grand Slam titles each, but their current situations are very different. Osaka recently returned to the Tour after welcoming her first child and is currently ranked world No. 134 with a 13-9 record in 2024.
In contrast, Swiatek has surpassed 100 weeks as world No. 1 and arrives at Roland Garros as a strong favorite, having won back-to-back WTA 1000 titles in Madrid and Rome. Swiatek has the chance to become the fourth player in the Open Era to win the French Open at least four times, joining Justine Henin (4) and trailing only Steffi Graf (6) and Chris Evert (7).
"I'm honestly really excited," said Osaka about the chance of playing Swiatek in the second round. "I watched her a lot when I was pregnant. And honestly, I think it's an honor to play her in the French Open because she's won more than once here. It's a very big honor and challenge for me."
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Osaka and Swiatek played for the last time in the final of the 2022 Miami Open, with the Pole winning the title 6-4, 6-0.
However, Osaka is not intimidated by Swiatek's strong favoritism in the tournament. The former world No. 1 refused to suggest that she expected to lose against Swiatek in a potential second-round match: "I definitely do feel like it's a test to see where I'm at, but I wouldn't say I have low expectations of myself," she said.
"I'm a person that kind of thinks that I can win every match that I play. That's kind of gotten me this far. I would never play a match thinking lowly of myself," she added. "I think I was paying too much attention to the score," she said. "Because when I saw it was 6-1, I felt a lot of relaxation, and then obviously I didn't play well after that," she concluded.

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