Naomi Osaka's first match since her separation from her coach ended in a humiliating defeat



  • Naomi Osaka has lost her first match since her separation with coach Sascha Bajin.
  • The 21-year-old, who had just won the Australian Open 2019, was eliminated from the Dubai Tennis Championships in the first round on Tuesday.
  • Osaka was beaten in sets 6-3 and 6-3 by undefeated French player Kristina Mladenovic.
  • Osaka made mistakes and failed to create momentum in the match before being eliminated from the Dubai tournament.
  • Mladenovic now moves to the next round on Wednesday with a quarter-final place to win. Meanwhile, Osaka has plenty of time to regroup and rethink his next move.

Naomi Osaka suffered a humiliating defeat in her first match since the break-up of coach Sascha Bajin.

The surprise announcement from Osaka that she had separated from Bajin surprised the tennis industry last week. The New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg even wrote that "the reasons for the split were not clear", adding that the news was "surprising".

Osaka and Bajin have had tremendous success in women's tennis, but before the Dubai tennis championships this week, Osaka said she left the coach because she did not want to sacrifice her own happiness.

His first match against Kristina Mladenovic would be the first time Osaka has played since his separation with Bajin, and his first match since his victory at the 2019 Australian Open last month.

But, for Osaka, Mladenovic's match on the center pitch of the Aviation Club Tennis Center could not have been as bad on Tuesday. She sank 6-3 and 6-3 in straight sets against an athlete she had to beat.

It was a poor performance by Osaka, who failed to gain ground, winning just five points in a row over Mladenovic's eight points and serving five double faults.

Mladenovic herself was a much more competent server, with four aces and 56% points earned on first serve.

Look at the winning shot here, which the commentator has described as "very comfortable" for Mladenovic.

Osaka may have been a Grand Slam champion and the most recent number one in women's tennis, but Mladenovic kept her calm and got her first-ever win over a top-ranked woman.

For Osaka, eliminated from the Dubai tournament in the first round, it is time to regroup and rethink before the Masters of Indian Wells in California next month, while Mladenovic will qualify for the next round in Dubai.

She will face Carla Suarez Navarro on Wednesday with a place in the quarterfinals for the winner.

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Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic bites the net with frustration in her first-round match against Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein)

Britain's Kyle Edmund serves Czech Berdych of the Czech Republic in his first-round match at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Andy Brownbill)

The Spanish Rafael Nadal serves Australian James Duckworth in his first-round match at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Aaron Favila )

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic backs down against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova in her first-round match at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

Britain's Andy Murray reacts in his first-round match against Spanish Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo / Andy Brownbill )

Britain's Andy Murray reacts at a press conference after his defeat against Spanish Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 (AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 10, 2019 – The Japanese Naomi Osaka trains. REUTERS / Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: A detail as sweat flows from Spain's Rafael Nadal's front in his semifinal match in men's singles against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas during the 11th day of the Open Australian 2019 at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour / Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 26: Japan's Naomi Osaka celebrates after winning the championship point in her women's singles final against Czech Petra Kvitova at the 13th day of the 2019 Australian Open in Melbourne. Park January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 25: Australia's Samantha Stosur plays a forehand in her women's doubles final match with Shuai Zhang of China against Hungarian Timea Babos and France's Kristina Mladenovic on Matchday 12 Australian Open 2019 at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe / Getty Images)

Melbourne, Australia – January 26: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays a setback in her women's singles final match against Naomi Osaka of Japan during the 13th day of the 2019 Australia Open at Melbourne Park January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe / Getty Images)

Melbourne, Australia – January 23: Canadian Milos Raonic serves in his quarterfinal match against France's Lucas Pouille during the 10th day of the Australian Open 2019 at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia . (Photo by Scott Barbour / Getty Images)

Melbourne, Australia – January 23: Serena Williams of the United States watches her quarterfinal match against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during the 10th day of the Australian Open 2019 at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2019 in Melbourne, in Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 27: Serbian Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the championship point in his final against Spain's Rafael Nadal during the 14th day of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on 27 January 2019 in Melbourne Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney / Getty Images)

The Japanese Naomi Osaka holds her trophy after defeating Czech Petra Kvitova in the women's singles final at the Australian Open Tennis Championships in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday, January 26, 2019. ( AP Photo / Kin Cheung)




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