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She didn’t lose, but Osaka had a tough first set against Bouzkova, struggling to find her rhythm against the hard-hitting Czech. She had to save eight break points. But after splitting the first eight games, Osaka started to push Bouzkova deep into the baseline with her crisp, powerful shots and, unsurprisingly, began to earn most of the important points as well. She won eight of the next nine games for a 6-4, 6-1 victory.

It was a much closer game than the score line suggested, filled with close matches, long points and shattering rallies, but also a more promising opening for his first Grand Slam in three months than last time. she has undertaken one of the most popular sports events.

In May, Osaka arrived in Paris for Roland Garros declaring that she would no longer attend the mandatory press conferences that all players attend after a match, whether they win or lose, if their attendance is requested. She said they caused too much mental stress and she would pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines instead.

In a few days, the organizers of Roland-Garros, with the support of the leaders of the other three Grand Slam events, threatened to expel him from the tournament. A day later, Osaka gave up, announcing that she would be taking a hiatus from sports and telling the world that she had been battling depression for almost three years.

On Sunday, just over 24 hours before its opener at the US Open, another pre-tournament statement arrived. This one was much less confrontational and more nuanced, but still challenged anyone who criticized her recent below-par performances, at Roland Garros or the Olympics, where she was beaten hard in the round of 16. final by Marketa Vondrousova, another young unconfirmed Czech player, ranked 38th in the world.

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