Naomi Osaka remains on a roll with win over Victoria Azarenka

World number one into French Open third round as she targets third straight Grand Slam

Naomi Osaka is into the third round at Roland Garros after victory over Victoria Azarenka. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty

Naomi Osaka is into the third round at Roland Garros after victory over Victoria Azarenka. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty

 

World number one Naomi Osaka survived another major scare to reach the third round of the French Open.

The 21-year-old, who is chasing a third consecutive grand slam title, lost the first set 6-0 against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova on Tuesday and was two points from defeat.

Things did not get quite so hairy against former world number one Victoria Azarenka in a high-quality match but the top seed was a set and a break down before recovering to win 4-6 7-5 6-1.

Osaka, who said she had never been more nervous during a match than against Schmiedlova, again made a poor start, with Azarenka winning the first four games.

Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka has been getting closer to her best form having finally returned full-time to the tour last spring following a bruising custody battle over her toddler son.

She weathered an Osaka fightback to take the opening set, the pair trading ferocious ground strokes, and then opened up a 4-2 lead in the second.

But Osaka has established a reputation as one of the toughest players mentally and she dug her way back into the match before racing out to a 5-1 lead in the decider.

Azarenka put up more resistance at the end but ultimately Osaka was just too strong.

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