10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Anisimova Tops Osaka, Parry Dethrones Defending-Champion Krejcikova at Roland Garros

Photo credit: Roland Garros Facebook

Top 10 players are endangered species at Roland Garros.

Amanda Anisimova swept former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-4 firing into the French Open second round.

Nineteen-year-old Frenchwoman Diane Parry dropped eight of the first nine games before roaring back to shock defending Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

A year after Krejcikova’s Cinderella run to the Roland Garros singles and doubles crowns, she made ignominious history.

Krejcikova is the first defending champion to fall in the first round since 2017 champion Jelana Ostapenko lost to Kateryna Kozlova, 7-5, 6-3, in the 2018 first round. She’s just the third reigning champion to fall in the first round joining Ostapenko and Russian Anastasia Myskina who exited in the opening round in 2005.

This was Krejcikova’s first match since she lost to Ostapenko in Doha last February. Nursing a right elbow injury that sidelined her from the Tour and limited her preparation for Paris, Krejcikova’s energy level and quality of play dipped as the match progressed.

“I mean, it was difficult. I mean, I expected it’s going to be difficult, and it was,” Krejcikova said. “I think overall the tennis-wise it wasn’t that bad. I think physically was a little worse.

“But I think, you know, I have to start somewhere, so it’s a pity that it had to be here and I didn’t have any other matches, but I think it’s good way to move forward.”

It was Anisimova’s second straight Grand Slam conquest of Osaka.

The 20-year-old American fought off two match points stunning Osaka in a thrilling 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) triumph at the Australian Open in January.

In today’s rematch, the 2019 Roland Garros semifinalist ripped the ball down both lines with ambition. Anisimova more than doubled Osaka’s winner output—27 to 13—out-aced one of tennis’ most imposing servers (5 to 4) and broke serve four times in a tidy 90-minute triumph.

“It was very difficult,” Anisimova said. “Especially like a lot of anticipation over the last couple of days. I was trying not to think about it too much, but going into the match, I did feel like the stress and the nerves a bit, because it is a very tough first round. I’m just happy with how I was able to manage it and get through it.”

A year ago, an emotional Osaka withdrew from Roland Garros after sharing she’s battled mental health issues and depression. Today, Osaka, who played with taping around her Achilles, said the Anisimova return was unsettling.

“Honestly I didn’t feel, like, my Achilles until the second set, I would say,” Osaka told the media in Paris. “So in the first set, like, I was totally like fine. I think the serve issue was just down to like playing a really good returner and kind of being a bit shaken by what she could possibly do. So I was trying to maybe go for too much, more than usual.

“I also haven’t practiced as much as I wanted to. But, yeah, I was really grateful for the crowd, like I could feel a lot of energy. It was really fun to play there, even though I didn’t win.”