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Australian Open: Naomi Osaka loses on Grand Slam comeback

Written by on January 15, 2024

fell at the first hurdle in her Grand Slam comeback on Monday, losing 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) to Caroline Garcia in the first round of the Australian Open.

A single break proved enough for the French 16th seed to win the opening set against her rusty opponent and she dominated the second set tie-break to progress in Melbourne.

After giving birth to a baby girl, Shai, in July, she decided to return for the 2024 season.

Garcia paid respect to her defeated opponent after victory under the lights on Rod Laver Arena.

“I have a lot of respect for Naomi as a person and as a player,” she said.

“She’s been through a lot, but I’m just very glad to see her back and I hope she can enjoy the tennis now and have fun out there. She’s a great girl.

“I mean, six months after giving birth she is playing quite amazing already, so we have to watch out.”

Osaka’s only competitive tennis before the Australian Open came at this month’s Brisbane International, where she lost in the second round to Karolina Pliskova.

The two-time Australian Open champion went toe-to-toe with her French opponent at the start of the match.

But she double-faulted in the fifth game to hand Garcia a break point and then dumped a forehand into the net to surrender her serve.

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