Naomi Osaka is preparing for a difficult return to the French Open, a year on from citing mental health issues when she withdrew from the tournament.

Former world number one Osaka has won four grand slam titles but never been past the third round at Roland Garros.

She entered the 2021 French Open having taken the Australian Open title at the start of the year, only for her campaign in Paris to blow up in a way she was desperate to avoid after she announced she would not be fulfilling her media duties.

Having been fined, Osaka ultimately quit the tournament after winning in the first round, describing her "huge waves of anxiety" when speaking to reporters.

She had been warned by grand slam chiefs that she could be thrown out of the event if she continued to refuse to take part in media duties.

The Japanese superstar took a significant step on Friday then when she appeared in a pre-tournament news conference.

Yet that has not been Osaka's only concern, as she is also conscious of the possibility of a repeat of events at Indian Wells earlier this year, where a heckler reduced her to tears.

"I'm not gonna lie," Osaka said, "when I first came here, I was very worried.

"Of course, I also didn't like how I handled the situation, but I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would bump into them.

"But I think everyone has been really positive, for the most part. I'm not really so sure.

"I was also very worried about this press conference, because I knew I'd get a lot of questions about this. But I think, for me, where I am right now, I wouldn't want to say it hasn't left my mind.

"Of course, I'm still thinking about it, and I'm kind of also prepping just in case I go on the court and a fan says something like in Indian Wells. For the most part, I think I'm okay."

Osaka was then asked how she had found the news conference and explained she was still figuring out how to talk to reporters again.

"I feel like I was funnier back then," she replied with a smile. "Like I used to be able to say jokes and not really care if anyone got it. I could re-explain the joke, and whatever.

"I feel like the thing that's changed, me trying to figure out the crowd. I feel like I'm a stand-up comedian, and I'm trying to figure out what's okay and what's not okay.

"I think maybe that's changed for me. I'm kind of analysing what I can say and what I can't say. But for the most part, I try to be myself and whatever."

Attention turned to tennis, and Osaka's first-round match is against Amanda Anisimova, who beat her in her previous grand slam match in Melbourne.

"So, my reaction was I thought that Wim [Fissette, her coach] was joking," Osaka said.

But she added: "I wouldn't say I don't want to play her, because I feel like, for me, I'm the type of person that if you beat me, it motivates me more to win, and I also learned a lot from the match."

Indeed, Anisimova was not the opponent the unseeded Osaka feared most, with 2020 champion and current number one Iga Swiatek having won her past five tournaments.

"I had a dream a couple of days ago that the draw came out, and I had to play Iga," Osaka said.

"For me, I was scared, because I was thinking: what's the worst possible player to play when I'm unseeded? She came in my mind, so thank God that didn't happen."

World number one Iga Swiatek is heading to Roland Garros in a laid-back mood as she looks to win her second major title.

Swiatek won her first and only grand slam when she triumphed in Paris in 2020 as a teenager.

The 20-year-old – who rose to number one in the WTA rankings when Ash Barty retired in March – has been in sparkling form in 2020.

Having reached the Australian Open semi-finals, Swiatek has gone on to win five successive titles, becoming the fourth player since the turn of the century to manage that feat.

She became the third-youngest player to win her second title in Rome when she triumphed at the Internazionali d'Italia earlier this month, while she has won five of the last nine WTA 1000 titles.

Swiatek was defeated by Maria Sakkari in last year's quarter-finals at Roland Garros, but feels she has little to prove going into the second major of the season.

"I'm more relaxed. I don't know about being nervous, because usually it comes closer to the match, so we will see," Swiatek, who has won her last 28 matches, told a media conference.

"But I'm more relaxed, because I have so many [ranking] points and I feel like my position in the WTA is already like, you know, I have worked for it.

"Already I've kind of proved to myself and to other people that I can be in the top of the game. Before I wasn't feeling that much confidence, so this year I feel much more peace.

"I'm taking the experience of the whole process, and playing seven matches in two weeks, having the routines. Also like getting to know how it is to go higher and higher in a grand slam.

"These kind of experiences help me not only for other grand slams but for many tournaments."

Emma Raducanu declared she "could be a great clay-court player" ahead of her French Open debut at Roland Garros.

US Open winner Raducanu only made her professional clay-court debut in April, managing a straight-sets victory over Storm Sanders in Stuttgart, before quarter-final elimination to world number one Iga Swiatek.

The 19-year-old Briton followed that up with a last-16 appearance in Madrid, where she was defeated by Anhelina Kalinina as she struggled with a back injury.

Raducanu, speaking at a media conference on Friday ahead of the second major of the year, suggested she has the credentials to succeed on clay courts.

"I could be a great clay-court player, like looking forward, long, medium-term, in a few years where I have definitely developed more robustness and I'm able to repeat the same shots over and over," she said.

"I think I have definitely come a long way and probably progressed faster than expected in the last few weeks and I really am enjoying the clay. I really believe that I can be good and faster than I thought it would be."

World number 12 Raducanu retired in Rome last week while trailing against Canadian Bianca Andreescu due to a recurring back issue.

However, she confirmed she will be fit to feature in Paris, where she meets a qualifier in the first round 

"I'm learning about my body, but I'm very happy to be continuing my preparations for the French Open and to be able to play this tournament and fortunately I didn't have to miss this Grand Slam," Raducanu added.

"That is definitely a really positive thing because I really look forward to these big moments and the big tournaments.

"After Rome, I definitely had to slow down, but this week I have been training and luckily being able to practise all of the shots.

"I'm looking forward to continuing that, and it feels good to be able to move freely and just like run around. It's quite fun. I have been preparing as normal the last few days."

If Raducanu can negotiate past her first-round clash, she will then take on Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Wang Xinyu before a potential last-16 meeting with Ons Jabeur, who first has to get past Poland's Magda Linette.

Angelique Kerber defeated Magda Linette in three sets at the Internationaux de Strasbourg to reach her first clay-court semi-final since 2016.

World number 22 Kerber rolled back the years with a battling 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory in a time of a little over two hours on Thursday.

She converted four of her nine break points and will now face the unseeded Oceane Dodin, who needed just an hour to overcome Viktorija Golubic 6-3 6-0.

Top seed Karolina Pliskova continued her progression with a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Maryna Zanevska, meanwhile, and will take on Kaja Juvan for a place in the final after she beat fourth seed Elise Mertens 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

Pliskova, who saved four set points in the tie-break, is aiming to become the fourth Czech champion in Strasbourg.

At the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem, Anna Bondar is the last seed standing after opponent Ajla Tomljanovic retired injured when 5-1 down in the opener.

Clair Liu saw off Astra Sharma 6-4 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Morocco, while Lucia Bronzetti and Martina Trevisan will meet in the other final-four showdown.

Bronzetti outlasted third seed Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5) while Liu beat Astra Sharma 6-4 6-1.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are all on the same half of the draw at the French Open, while women's world number one Iga Swiatek will face a qualifier in the first round at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, who will make his Grand Slam return having missed the Australian Open, opens in Paris against Yoshihito Nishioka, while record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal meets Australia's Jordan Thompson.

The veteran pair of Djokovic and Nadal could challenge each other in the quarter-finals in the top half of the draw, where Alcaraz could come across world number three Alexander Zverev.

Alcaraz faces a qualifier in the first round and has won 16 of his last 17 matches, with the one blemish on his remarkable run coming against Sebastian Korda, who the Spaniard could meet in the third round.

Daniil Medvedev will have to get past Argentine Facundo Bagnis in the first round, while Lorenzo Musetti stands in the way of last year's runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas are joined in the wide-open bottom half of the draw by Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev, who meet home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and South Korea's Soonwoo Kwon respectively.

In the women's draw, 2020 champion Swiatek comes in as favourite and will look to continue her 28-match winning streak when she faces a qualifier in the first round, as does US Open winner Emma Raducanu.

The Brit will then take on Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Wang Xinyu before a potential last-16 meeting with Ons Jabeur, who first has to get past Poland's Magda Linette.

Meanwhile, Karolina Pliskova – who has a first-round clash with France's Tessah Andrianjafitrimo – could set up a quarter-final meeting with Swiatek, but the Pole may have to get past Simona Halep in the fourth round first.

Defending champion Barbora Krejcikova starts against Diane Parry, while Naomi Osaka was drawn against the in-form Amanda Anisimova, who beat the Japanese in the third round of the Australian Open.

Karolina Pliskova reached her maiden quarter-final of the season after battling past Bernarda Para in Strasbourg 6-3 1-6 6-1.

Runner-up to Ash Barty at Wimbledon last July, Pliskova has endured a stop-start 2022 campaign.

The Czech missed the first two months with a hand injury, while suffering first-round exits in Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid.

But despite being taken to a decider by her French opponent, the top seed hit 16 aces on the way to reaching the last eight.

Second seed Angelique Kerber also required a deciding set to progress to her first quarter-final of the campaign; the three-time Grand Slam winner overcoming Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 3-6 6-4.

Fourth and ninth seeds Elise Mertens and Viktorija Golubic also advanced to the last eight following straight-set wins over Anna-Lena Friedsam and Fiona Ferro respectively.

However, there was no joy for top seed Garbine Muguruza over in Rabat; the two-time Grand Slam champion was beaten 2-6 6-4 6-1 by world number 85 Martina Trevisan.

The Italian's reward is a quarter-final showdown with seventh seed Arantxa Rus, who saw off Dalma Galfi 6-4 6-2.

Mayar Sherif was another seed to tumble; the Karlsruhe champion lost 4-6 7-6(5) 6-1 to Claire Liu, who triumphed in the Trophee Lagardere last week.

Third seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz recovered from losing the opening set to defeat Kristina Mladenovic 4-6 6-3 6-0, while Anna Bondar hit seven aces as she overcame Kristina Kucova 6-3 6-3. 

Ajla Tomljanovic reached the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Rabat, while Sorana Cirstea crashed out in Strasbourg.

Second seed Tomljanovic was a 7-5 6-2 victor against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, reeling off the last four games in succession to advance in Morocco.

Fellow Australian Astra Sharma joined her in the last eight by overcoming wildcard Petra Marcinko 5-7 6-3 6-3.

Kristina Mladenovic had to save a match point after passing up two herself to finally get over the line with a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (9-7) success - her first singles win of the year - over lucky loser Tessah Andrianjafitrimo in a first-round clash.

At the Internationaux de Strasbourg, third seed Cirstea stormed to a one-set advantage against Ekaterina Makarova but soon fell away and succumbed to a 1-6 6-3 6-2 loss. 

Magda Linette breezed past Heather Watson 6-1 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals, where she was joined by Maryna Zanevska after the Belgian's 4-6 7-5 6-1 comeback win against Harmony Tan. 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova awaits American Bernarda Pera who defeated Elena-Gabriela Ruse in straight sets, while Anna-Lena Friedsam will take on Elise Mertens after rallying to beat Daria Saville 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has withdrawn from the French Open, with last year's runner-up in Paris ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Russia's world number 21 enjoyed her best grand slam run at Roland Garros 12 months ago, reaching the final before suffering defeat to Barbora Krejcikova. 

The 30-year-old lost in the first round of the singles at the Internazionali d'Italia last week but won the women's doubles alongside Veronika Kudermetova.

However, playing in four matches that went the distance made her realise she needed to take a break for her knee to recover.

Pavlyuchenkova posted on Instagram: "I'm very sad to say that I'm forced to withdraw from Roland Garros and the rest of the tournaments this year!

"I have been playing this in my head for the last week and it has been a really tough decision to make, as Roland Garros was always very special to me, especially after a dream run last year!

"But due to the pain for a long time, now the injury is limiting me physically and mentally to compete and practise fully.

"After rehabbing for months this year and only playing at three events, the last two tournaments showed me that the pain was still there and I wasn't ready, so I have decided to take more time and come back stronger next year!" 

Top seeds Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber strolled to straight-sets wins in the first round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg, keeping the two former world number ones on course for a final meeting.

Having endured an injury-hit season to date, world number eight Pliskova made the perfect start to her campaign in France with a routine 6-4 6-2 win over Ukrainian 19-year-old Marta Kostyuk. 

Kerber, who is only missing a victory at the French Open – which begins later this month – to complete a Career Grand Slam, overcame teenager Diane Parry 6-3 6-4 in her opener, setting up a round-of-16 clash with world number 45 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Some of the other big names participating in Strasbourg, however, were not so lucky, with 5th and 6th seeds Shuai Zhang and Sloane Stephens crashing to first-round exits.

Shuai went down 6-2 6-3 to Belgium's Maryna Zanevska and Stephens capitulated to a 2-6 6-4 6-1 loss to Nefisa Berberovic, while Heather Watson set up a last-16 meeting with eighth seed Magda Linette by beating Katharina Hobgarski 6-4 6-1.

Meanwhile, Garbine Muguruza made a winning start to her campaign at the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco, as the world number 10 builds towards a tilt at French Open glory having triumphed at Roland Garros back in 2016.

Muguruza had few difficulties in beating Anna Danilina 6-3 6-2, and will face Martina Trevisan in the round-of-16 after the Italian beat China's You Xiadoi 6-0 6-4.

Third seed Nuria Parrizas-Diaz had to come through a more difficult challenge in Rabat, overcoming Carol Zhao 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 6-2, while eighth seed Anna Kalinskaya was the highest-ranked player to fall at the first hurdle, going down 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to Lucia Bronzetti.

Ajla Tomljanovic secured a routine first-round win over Irene Burillo Escorihuela at the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco, while Magda Linette made comfortable progress at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

Second seed Tomljanovic wrapped up a 6-2 6-1 win over her Spanish opponent in Rabat on Sunday, kick-starting her bid to better her second-placed finish at the 2018 edition of the event.

The world number 44, who was beaten by fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty in the Wimbledon quarter-finals after overcoming Emma Raducanu in London last year, is on course for a potential meeting with Croatian 16-year-old Petra Marcinko, who shocked ninth seed Rebecca Peterson to claim a three-set victory.

The Australian Open girls' champion and junior world number one claimed a superb 6-0 2-6 7-5 win over the Swede for her first career top 100 triumph.

At the Internationaux de Strasbourg, meanwhile, eighth seed Linette saw off Varvara Gracheva 6-3 6-0 to reach the round-of-16, setting up a potential tie with Heather Watson.

Elsewhere, Harmony Tan downed Australia's Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-1 to set up a potential round-of-16 meeting with Shuai Zhang, who faces Belgium's Maryna Zanevska on Monday.

Iga Swiatek plans to "celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu" after becoming the first player since Serena Williams in 2013 to win five successive WTA Tour events with victory at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The world number one faced Ons Jabeur – who had been on an 11-match winning run – in Sunday's final in Rome and simply had too much for the Tunisian.

Swiatek won 6-2 6-2, with the 20-year-old Pole getting an early break to establish a 3-0 lead that put her in control of the first set.

As it happened, last week's Madrid Open champion Jabeur never managed to wrest control back from her opponent – her only break of the match came while 4-1 down in the second, with Swiatek digging deep to save four break points in her next service game.

Swiatek then saw things out to defend her Rome title and add to her impressive recent streak.

Additionally, Swiatek has emerged victorious from every WTA 1000 event she has entered this season, having previously won in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

But she was quick to salute Jabeur's efforts after another commendable showing.

Swiatek said: "I want to congratulate Ons because she had such a good run on the clay court.

"You have shown fight, spirit, so much variety that it's really nice to have you on tour. Your tennis is different and your tennis is really interesting for women's tennis I think."

As for her own performances, Swiatek added: "It wasn't easy for the whole week to play every day, but the crowd gave me so much energy.

"It was so nice to play here, be in Rome, and I agree with Ons in terms of good pasta! And today I'll celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu – no regrets!"

Swiatek now heads to Roland Garros – the scene of her first and only previous grand slam success in 2020 – as the firm favourite.

Tennis stars Gael Monfils and Elina Svitolina are expecting a child, with their baby girl due to be born in October.

Monfils is the ATP world number 21, while Ukrainian Svitolina is ranked 27th in the WTA rankings.

On Sunday, the pair, who married in 2021, announced the news on their official Twitter accounts.

"With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October," a post on each of their accounts read.

Svitolina has been outspoken about her opinion on Russian and Belarusian athletes participating on the Tour, in the wake of Russia's invasion of her homeland.

In April, the 27-year-old called for Russian and Belarusian players to be banned from all international tennis events unless they denounce the invasion in Ukraine.

She decided to take a break from tennis in March, citing a back problem.

Ons Jabeur believes clawing back a match point against Daria Kasatkina puts her in a strong place to push for glory against world number one Iga Swiatek.

Jabeur won for an 11th straight time as she defeated Kasatkina 6-4 1-6 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia on Saturday.

Her victory sets up a final against Swiatek, who extended her winning streak to 27 matches by defeating Aryna Sabalenka.

Jabeur, who won in the Spanish capital last week, is aiming to become the third player to win the Madrid and Rome titles in a single year. Dinara Safina in 2009 and Serena Williams in 2013 are the others to have managed that feat.

However, it would all have been different had Kasatkina converted her match point in the deciding set.

"It means a lot to me, especially mentally, that I could come back from a match point and prove that I did that today," Jabeur said.

"Hopefully I can keep being stronger mentally, because I know [the final] is all about mental [strength].

"I knew that physically I could handle anything. Believing that I could play even four weeks in a row, I can do it. I am exhausted, yes, but it's part of my job.

"It's going to help me push more. There is only one match left. I gave it all from the first round, now I should really continue giving my best."

Swiatek found matters rather more comfortable against Sabalenka, who she beat 6-2 6-1. The 20-year-old is in the hunt for a fourth title of 2022.

"At these tournaments where we play day after day, we don't really get time to celebrate," she told reporters.

"Right after we finish the previous match, we have to think about the next one.

"It's pretty tough. But I know that after I'm going to be really proud of myself. For sure I'm going to have time to think about what I did.

"I'm just constantly surprising myself that I can do better and better. I feel like I actually can believe now that the sky's the limit. That's the fun part, for sure."

In the last 25 years, only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Swiatek this season (17).

Daria Kasatkina had progress to the Internazionali d'Italia final in her grasp, but Ons Jabeur struck back to set up a showdown with Iga Swiatek.

World number one Swiatek saw off Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday's other semi-final, and it is Tunisia's Jabeur who will meet her on Sunday.

Jabeur had to do things the hard way, saving a matchpoint in the deciding set before going on to prevail 6-4 1-6 7-5.

The victory is Jabeur's 11th in a row and sends the 27-year-old into her second final in the space of a week following her win in Madrid.

Jabeur started strong with an immediate break of serve, yet Kasatkina stubbornly fought back with two breaks of her own.

However, a slip up from the Russian at 3-1 up allowed Jabeur to drag herself back into the set before she broke again to win it.

The momentum swung the other way as Kasatkina dominated the second set to force a decider, in which Jabeur's steel was on full show as she sealed a fourth straight win over the world number 23 with a sublime drop-shot.

Jabeur has now won 17 matches on clay in 2022, more than any other player on the WTA Tour, while she is the first to reach three finals on dirt in the same season since Simona Halep did so in 2017.

Should she overcome Swiatek – who is herself on a remarkable 27-match winning run – Jabeur will become the third player to win the Madrid and Rome titles in a single year. Dinara Safina in 2009 and Serena Williams in 2013 are the others to have managed that feat.

Iga Swiatek continued her remarkable winning run to reach the Internazionali d'Italia final as she defeated Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-1.

Top seed Swiatek extended to 26 matches unbeaten, dating back to mid-February, with victory over Bianca Andreescu to set up the last-four meeting with Sabalenka, who battled past Amanda Anisimova.

The pair exchanged opening breaks in a tentative start to the clash in the Italian capital before Sabalenka again failed to hold her serve as Pole Swiatek took an early 3-1 lead.

World number eight Sabalenka, the third seed in the tournament, offered little response as the in-form Swiatek then claimed the first set with ease.

Sabalenka was again caught cold and had no answer as world number one Swiatek raced out the blocks in the second set, breaking twice via marathon rallies, to gain a 4-0 lead.

Swiatek swiftly wrapped victory up, despite a short medical time out for her opponent, and has now won all three of her WTA Tour encounters with Sabalenka in 2022, conceding just 12 games in the process.

Meanwhile, in the last 25 years only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Iga Swiatek this season (17).

The 20-year-old Swiatek continues on her quest for a fourth straight WTA 1000 crown and fifth consecutive title and in the final will face either Ons Jabeur or Daria Kasatkina, who face off later on Saturday.

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