Osaka narrowly avoids catastrophic Roland Garros shock

At one stage, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova was just two points away from a famous victory over Naomi Osaka in the second round of the French Open.

Naomi Osaka reacts after her first round win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.   -  REUTERS

Japan's Naomi Osaka battled back from a set and a break down to defeat Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 0-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the Roland Garros second round.

Osaka, bidding to add the French Open to her US and Australian Open titles, was within a whisker of becoming just the second top seed to lose in the first round in Paris in the modern era after Angelique Kerber in 2017.

World number 90 Schmeidlova, who hadn't won a match at the tournament since 2014, twice served for the tie in the 10th and 12th games of the second set.

At one stage, she was just two points away from a famous victory.

But Osaka, who had arrived in Paris still feeling the effects of a hand injury suffered in Rome, battled back to set-up a second round duel with former world number one and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka.