French Open: Naomi Osaka through to second round with victory over Patricia Maria Tig

<p>Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka</p> (Getty Images)

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka

(Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka booked her spot in the second round of the French Open on Sunday by beating Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets, shifting the focus on the former world No 1 back onto the court.

Osaka said earlier this week that she would not partake in press conferences at the Paris Grand Slam in order to prioritise her mental health, though the mixed reactions to that decision did not impact the four-time major winner’s performance on Court Philippe Chatrier as she earned a 6-4 7-6(4) victory.

The Japanese required one hour and 48 minutes to beat her Romanian opponent as she got proceedings under way at the clay-court Slam, four months after emerging from Melbourne as Australian Open champion for the second time in her career.

Osaka, 23, claimed her other two major titles at the US Open, triumphing in New York in 2018 and 2020. Her first US Open crown, won at the age of just 20, thrust Osaka into the spotlight on an international level, making her a reluctant but powerful voice in the sporting world.

That reluctance has never been more evident than this week, when Osaka decided against taking part in press conferences at Roland Garros, though she did speak in an on-court interview after beating Tig.

“I’m very glad that I won,” she said. “It’s a very beautiful court.

“I’ve only played two matches here, one was before the roof and one is right now. Hopefully I’ll keep it going.”

Regarding her movement on clay, Osaka – who next meets another Romanian in Ana Bogdan – said: “I would say it’s a work in progress.

“Hopefully the more I play, the better I’ll get.”

PA contributed to this report.

Read More

Sporting weekend in pictures

French Open day one: Osaka’s boycott could end badly as Thiem makes early exit

Naomi Osaka could be kicked out of French Open over media boycott