Naomi Osaka overcomes nerves to get off to winning start at French Open

Naomi Osaka overcame a bout of nerves to get off to a winning start at the French Open.

The former world number one from Japan needed a deciding set to beat Lucia Bronzetti in the opening match on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Osaka seemed in line for a quick morning’s work when she breezed through the opening set.

But Bronzetti, ranked 67, took the second and came back from 4-0 down to level in the third.

However, when the Italian slashed a backhand into the net, Osaka had the break at the end of the decider and served out for a 6-1 4-6 7-5 victory.

“There were moments I played pretty well, but I was nervous and got very tight in the third set. But I’m pretty happy,” she said.

Osaka famously avoids looking at her potential draw at tournaments, but it was difficult to avoid finding out she has a likely match-up with current world number one and three-time winner Iga Swiatek next.

“Honestly, I didn’t really know, but then I was, like, ‘why does everyone keep asking me about this draw?'” she added.

“Then I knew that I was in the top half, so I was, jokingly, I was, like, ‘well, it’s not like I’m playing Iga’. Then everyone got quiet. So I was like, ‘oh…’

“But, yeah, the next round is the only round I know, so that’s all I’m going to focus on.”

Former champions Jelena Ostapenko and Barbora Krejcikova enjoyed differing fortunes on day one.

Ostapenko, who stunned the tennis world with her title win in 2017, eased past Jaqueline Cristian 6-4 7-5.

But Krejcikova, the 2021 champion and 24th seed, was beaten 7-6 (3) 6-4 by Viktorija Golubic.

Former runner-up Sofia Kenin came from behind to defeat Laura Siegmund 4-6 6-2 6-2.