Naomi Osaka loses to Caroline Garcia in Aussie Open return

League: Tennis

Posted on: 15 Jan, 2024 at 03:32 PM

Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka lost in her return to the tournament, dropping a straight-set decision to No. 16 seed Caroline Garcia on Monday in Melbourne.

Garcia rolled past Osaka 6-4, 7-6 (2) in an hour and 26 minutes to advance. Osaka just returned to tournament tennis after being away for 15 months on maternity leave.

Garcia blasted 13 aces and won 89 percent of her first serves to advance. Osaka hit 20 winners vs. 25 unforced errors vs. 34 winners and 24 unforced errors for Garcia.

"The competitive in me is really frustrated that I'm not winning these matches, of course," Osaka said. "So I wouldn't say, like, this comeback is how I thought because I'm delusional enough to think I could have won the tournament.

"I think my delusion is what allows me to win the tournaments."

The first-round exit was the earliest for Osaka at the Aussie Open in eight tries.

"I have a lot of respect for Naomi as a person and as a player -- 15 months she's been away," Garcia said. "I'm very glad to see her back. Six months after giving birth, she's playing quite amazing already. We have to watch out."

No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia easily dispatched qualifier Yuliia Starodubtseva of Ukraine 6-3, 6-1 in 67 minutes to advance.

Also, 10th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil needed 2 hours, 18 minutes to get past Czech Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. Maia had 39 winners against 37 unforced errors and 65 percent of her second serves. Fruhvirtova won just 38 percent of her second serves.

Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic outlasted No. 15 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-1 in 2 hours and 21 minutes.

No. 24 Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine got bounced 6-1, 6-0 the Netherlands' Arantxa Rus. Also, Russia's Anastasia Pavlychenkova upended No. 21 Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4.

No. 25 Elise Mertens of Belgium advanced to the second round after Egypt's Mayar Sherif retired in the second set trailing 6-2, 2-0. She was joined by No. 26 Jasmine Paolini of Italy, who won in straight sets.

Qualifier Anastasia Zakharova rallied from a set down to oust Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Unseeded Russian teen Mirra Andreeva also advanced with a straight-set victory over American Bernarda Pera.

--Field Level Media