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Naomi Osaka loses her Grand Slam comeback

Naomi Osaka made a disappointing return to Grand Slam tennis as she was defeated 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) by Caroline Garcia in the first round of the Australian Open.

Despite a strong start, a single break was enough for Garcia to secure the first set, and she dominated the second set tie-break to advance.

Having taken a break from tennis in September 2022 due to mental health concerns and subsequently giving birth to a baby girl, Osaka returned for the 2024 season. Garcia, the 16th seed from France, praised her opponent after the match and expressed admiration for Osaka’s resilience and ability.

Osaka’s only prior competitive tennis since her return was at the Brisbane International, where she was eliminated in the second round. Despite a strong effort, Osaka’s double fault and subsequent forehand error led to her losing the crucial break in the first set, and she was unable to recover.

Both players were solid on serve in the second set, leading to a tie-break where Osaka stumbled, allowing Garcia to claim victory. Garcia expressed her excitement at playing in the evening session of a Grand Slam match and cherished the experience, regardless of the outcome.