'It would be an honour to play Swiatek', Osaka admits ahead of potential French Open clash

By Sports Desk May 26, 2024

Naomi Osaka admits it would be "a very big honour" to play Iga Swiatek at the French Open, ahead of a potential second-round showdown at Roland Garros.

After a 15-month maternity break, the four-time major winner marked her return to the French capital with a hard-earned three-set victory over Lucia Bronzetti in the opening round.

That potentially sets up a meeting with Swiatek in round two, should the reigning champion overcome Leolia Jeanjean on Monday.

And Osaka is thrilled by the prospect of facing the world number one, who has lifted Coupe Suzanne Lenglen three times in the past four years. 

"I'm really excited," she told reporters during her post-match press conference. 

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

After beating Bronzetti 6-1 4-6 7-5, Osaka (75.3 per cent, 58-19) now only trails Swiatek (81.4 per cent, 70-16) among active players, for the highest winning percentage in women’s singles matches at major events.

The Japanese was made to work hard for her victory. After a dominant opening set, Osaka was taken to a decider, in which she was pegged back from 4-0 up, but eventually got over the line.

"The match really was like a rollercoaster," she added. "I felt like I was extremely focused in the first set, and maybe I let it go a bit.

"I came back in the third, but then I let it go a bit, and I just got really tight from there. I'm really glad I was able to regroup and win."

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