Naomi Osaka marked her return to the French Open with a hard-fought win against Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti, securing her first win at Roland Garros in three years. The four-time Grand Slam champion prevailed 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in a match that she admitted tested her nerves and resolve.

Osaka, who recently returned to professional tennis after a 15-month maternity break, had not won at the French Open since 2021. Her last appearance in Paris ended in controversy when she withdrew after a dispute with tournament officials over her decision to skip mandatory media obligations.

Sunday’s match on the Philippe Chatrier court saw Osaka dominate the first set, wrapping it up in just 28 minutes. However, her performance became erratic in the second set, leading to a crucial break by Bronzetti at 5-4, forcing a decider.

Osaka acknowledged her nervousness during the match.

“There were moments I played pretty well, but I was pretty nervous and got really tight,” she said, per ESPN.

Her recent struggles were evident after her first-round exit at the Australian Open in January. Despite a strong start, she fell to Caroline Garcia of France, showing rustiness in what was only her third match of the season.

Naomi Osaka ‘in head' during French Open match

Naomi Osaka of Japan after winning her first round match against Lucia Bronzetti of Italy on day one of Roland Garros.
© Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Osaka later admitted that her thoughts about her previous losses affected her performance.

“I was kind of, in my head, thinking I didn't win a match in Australia, so I'd really love to win one here,” she said. “Obviously that wasn't a good train of thought. … I kind of focused on it a bit too much instead of trying to play point by point, and I think towards the end I was able to erase that thought from my head.”

In the deciding set against Bronzetti, Osaka initially surged ahead, appearing set for a comfortable win. She had a chance to break for a 5-0 lead but faltered, allowing the world No. 67 to claw her way back into the match. The tension was palpable as Osaka secured a crucial break in the 11th game before clinching the win.

Her opponent, Bronzetti, ranked No. 48, has yet to win a match at Roland Garros in three appearances. The Italian player’s Grand Slam record now stands at 3-10, with her most recent match ending in a disappointing loss after leading American Peyton Stearns 5-0 in the third set at the Morocco Open.

Looking ahead, Osaka’s next challenge could be a formidable one. She is likely to face top seed and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, the two-time defending French Open champion. Swiatek, who will face French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean in her first-round match, has been a dominant force on clay.

Osaka expressed excitement about the potential matchup with Swiatek.

“I'm honestly really excited (about likely playing Swiatek),” she said. “I watched her a lot when I was pregnant and honestly, I think it's an honor to play her in the French Open, because she's won more than once here. For sure, it's a very big honor and challenge for me.”