Women's popcorn R1s: Osaka to face Anisimova

Ex-world No.1 and former RG semi-finalist to square off in rematch of 2022 Australian Open

Naomi Osaka, Amanda Anisimova, Australian Open 2022 third round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

A loaded women's draw has thrown some exciting first-round match-ups.

Here are some openers you won't want to miss.

Amanda Anisimova (USA) [27] v Naomi Osaka (JPN)

Their Australian Open third-round clash from four months ago was a nail-biting affair that saw Amanda Anisimova save two match points en route to a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(10/5) victory over the four-time major champion.

It was Naomi Osaka's first meeting with the big-hitting American, who has risen from her ranking of No.60 at the time to her current spot at No.28 in the world.


While Osaka has bigger Grand Slam credentials, Anisimova has had greater success on clay, having reached the semi-finals of Roland-Garros in 2019.

Anisimova is 10-3 on the surface this season, including a semi-final showing on green clay in Charleston and quarter-final appearances on the red dirt in Madrid and Rome.

Osaka showed signs of regaining her top form during her run to the Miami final last month but her clay preparation was limited to just two matches in Madrid where she lost to Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second round and later revealed she had picked up an Achilles injury.

Naomi Osaka, Roland Garros 2022, practiceCorinne Dubreuil/FFT

Jessica Pegula (USA) [11] v Wang Qiang (CHN)

Recent Madrid finalist Jessica Pegula could be in for a big-hitting showdown with China's Wang Qiang when they face off in the opening round in Paris.

If the forecast is warm and dry, the pair should be expected to trade blows from the back of the court in what will be their first meeting.

The 28-year-old Pegula is on the cusp of breaking the top 10, is in form and should be able to make it through to round two.

Jessica Pegula, Madrid Open 2022 semi-finals© Antoine Couvercelle/FFT

Anett Kontaveit (EST) [5] v Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)

Their previous two battles were tight three-set tussles, both in 2019, but this will be their first encounter on clay.

No.5 seed Anett Kontaveit is 2-0 against Ajla Tomljanovic but the Estonian has not had the best of runs since she made the Doha final in February.

She is 2-2 on clay in the build-up to Roland-Garros, while Tomljanovic is 6-5, with quarter-final showings in Istanbul and Rabat.

Anett Kontaveit, Roland Garros 2021, third round Philippe Montigny/FFT

Kaia Kanepi (EST) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [10]

Estonian Kaia Kanepi has a knack for pulling off upsets over big seeds at the majors and Garbine Muguruza will be on high alert when they square off in the first round.

This will be their first meeting since the 2014 Australian Open, when a seeded Kanepi fell to Muguruza in three sets in the opening round.

Muguruza, a two-time major champion and former world No.1, ended 2021 with a bang, lifting the WTA Finals trophy in Guadalajara but has yet to replicate that form so far this season.

Garbine Muguruza, Roland Garros 2021 first round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT