Naomi Osaka bows out of the Australian Open with a

Naomi Osaka bows out of the Australian Open with a first-round loss to Caroline Garcia – The Athletic

Two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the tournament after losing to Caroline Garcia in the first round.

Garcia, seeded 16th, won in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 to secure her place in the next round.

Osaka, 26, returned to professional tennis earlier this month after a 16-month absence as a wildcard player at the Brisbane International after giving birth to her first child last year.

The four-time Grand Slam champion defeated Tamara Korpatsch in straight sets in the first round of the Brisbane International before losing to defending champion Karolina Pliskova in a hard-fought three-set match.

However, in her first major tournament since her comeback, Osaka was beaten in straight sets by Garcia – who spoke after the match about her excitement at her opponent's return to the sport.

“I have a lot of respect for Naomi Osaka as a person and as a player,” Garcia said after the win. “We all know she had a great career.

“She was gone for 15 months and went through a lot. I'm just really happy to see her again. I hope she can enjoy the tennis and have fun out there.

“She is a great girl and has done so much for tennis in the last few years. She’s playing fantastic tennis just six months after giving birth, so we have to be careful!”

Garcia – a semi-finalist at the US Open in 2022 – never progressed past the fourth round of the Australian Open.

(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)