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Big guns Swiatek and Osaka meet in early French Open showdown

Osaka was excited by the challenge, having dedicated herself to improving her game on a surface where success has eluded her.
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 04:12 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 04:12 IST

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Paris: Defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek will take on Naomi Osaka in a blockbuster second-round contest between the two most successful women in the Roland Garros draw, renewing a rivalry split down the middle after two years on Wednesday.

Swiatek heads into the clash against her fellow four-times Grand Slam champion in the form of her life on clay, having captured titles in Madrid and Rome as she bids to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup for a fourth time.

In her third meeting with Osaka and first on the sport's slowest surface, the 22-year-old Pole will target a victory that would give her an edge in their head-to-head record.

Osaka arrives under vastly different circumstances, having returned to the tour at the start of the season following a long maternity break, but she showed flashes of top form during her tough opening Roland Garros win over Lucia Bronzetti.

"Really impressed," Swiatek said of the 26-year-old Osaka's comeback after 15 months away from the sport.

"She's a great person and her game style is pretty fun to watch. I'm glad she came back and she's playing more tournaments even than before the break.

"I haven't actually played against Naomi obviously on clay, so we'll see how that's going to go."

Osaka was excited by the challenge, having dedicated herself to improving her game on a surface where success has eluded her.

"I watched her a lot when I was pregnant. It's an honour to play her in the French Open because she has won more than once here. It's a very big challenge for me," Osaka said.

The former world number one added that the contest was an acid test in her comeback.

"It's a test to see where I'm at but I wouldn't say I have low expectations of myself. I'm a person that thinks that I can win every match that I play.

"That's gotten me this far. I'd never play a match thinking lowly of myself, no."

On the men's side, Carlos Alcaraz will continue his quest for a maiden French Open trophy, with the third seed taking on Jesper De Jong before fellow young gun and second seed Jannik Sinner faces Richard Gasquet.

Former Roland Garros runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas can build momentum in his bid to end his Grand Slam duck when he takes on Daniel Altmaier while fellow seed Andrey Rublev squares off against Pedro Martinez.

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Published 29 May 2024, 04:12 IST

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