Osaka recovers to power past Azarenka

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Osaka recovers to power past Azarenka

Naomi Osaka lost the first set but roared back to complete a hard-earned 4-6 7-5 6-3 win over Victoria Azarenka in the French Open second round. After Azarenka disappeared for around 15 minutes after losing the second set for a comfort break, Osaka assumed control of the second-round contest in racing 5-1 clear in the deciding set. Azarenka prolonged the contest to close to 5-3 behind, but Osaka saved another break point in a taut ninth game to finally scramble over the winning line with some venomous hitting and serving. Osaka has had a series of inconsistent results amid mounting pressure since she followed up her US Open success with the Australian Open title and was a bundle of nerves during her opening match in Paris on Tuesday. The Japanese player lost the first set tamely before fighting back to overcome Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 0-6 7-6(4) 6-1 and made another sluggish start against Azarenka but again recovered well to power through. Belarusian Azarenka appears to be returning to peak form following the birth of her son Leo in 2016 and an ensuing custody battle with her former partner.