Naomi Osaka’s French Open 2021 Path Becomes Tougher Following Alison Riske’s Withdrawal

Published 05/28/2021, 6:30 PM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: Naomi Osaka of Japan speaks to media following her Women’s Singles third round defeat to Coco Gauff of the United States of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)


World number two Japanese player Naomi Osaka, who is the center of latest criticism for her decision to skip pressers at the upcoming the French Open, has got a tough path to glory in Paris this year. The Japanese player didn’t have much success on the red-dirt this year.

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Also, Osaka has been getting a lot of criticism for her decision to skip press conferences. While her intentions appear genuine, several players like Ash Barty, Iga Swiatek, Daniil Medvedev, etc. have favored press conferences and said that it’s part of their job on tour.

Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a forehand against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) in a women’s singles quarterfinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Paula Badosa could be pitted against Naomi Osaka at French Open 2021

While the longevity of Osaka’s decision is yet to be revealed, the Japanese player likes to get in few victories at Roland Garros to reduce the negativity surrounding her. She will play her first-round match against the Romanian player, Patricia Maria Tig.

If Osaka wins her first two matches, she was projected to play either Alison Riske or Danka Kovinic. But, Riske announced a shock withdrawal from the French Open earlier today.

As a result of this, Paula Badosa rises to become the 33rd seed in the women’s draw. The Spaniard, who recently won the WTA Serbian Open, had also reached the semi-finals in Madrid. On the red-dirt this year, Badosa defeated the likes of Belinda Bencic, Ash Barty, etc.

Having to face an in-form clay-courter like Paula Badosa puts pressure on Naomi Osaka. The Japanese had admitted recently about the need to improve her game on clay.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Both Osaka and Badosa are yet to face each other on the WTA tour. With the Spaniard bagging more wins on clay than Osaka, it will be tough hill to climb for the Japanese to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros this year.

The expected route of Naomi Osaka at the French Open:

1st Round: Patricia Maria Tig

2nd Round: Ana Bogdan

3rd Round: Paula Badosa/Danka Kovinic

4th Round: Kiki Bertens/Carolina Garcia

Quarter-finals: Bianca Andreescu

Semi-final: Serena Williams/Aryna Sabalenka

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Final: Iga Swiatek/Ash Barty

The Japanese player is supposed to play a lot of clay-court specialists, and whether she sustains longer rallies on clay remains to be the big question going forward at Roland Garros.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

226 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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