Osaka stages second great escape at Roland Garros

Paris, May 30 (AFP):
Top seed Naomi Osaka staged a second successive Roland Garros great escape on Thursday to reach the third round while 2018 runner-up Dominic Thiem needed four sets and overcoming the surprise of an underarm serve heading his way to progress.
World number one Osaka, bidding to add the French Open to her US and Australian Open titles, came back from a set and 2-4 down to defeat former world number one Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Her win came on the back of being just two points from defeat in her tournament opener against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
The 21-year-old held her nerve, despite squandering two match points late in the deciding set, to secure her place in the third round and a clash against Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
“I was lucky to have played Victoria twice before. I knew she had been playing well coming into the tournament,” said Osaka.
“It was an unfortunate second round draw for me so I am happy to win.” Osaka finished the two-hour 50-minute encounter on Court Suzanne Lenglen with 52 winners and 43 unforced errors.
She becomes the first top seed to win her two opening matches at Roland Garros after losing the first set since Lindsay Davenport in 2005.
“I didn’t push enough through so I have to learn from that but I have to take positives from the match,” said 29-year-old Azarenka.
“She deserves to be where she is — she is very powerful and explosive.” Siniakova, the world number 42, also endured a marathon win, putting out Greek 29th seed Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (8/10), 6-3 in a three-hour 10-minute duel.

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