Returning former world No 1 Naomi Osaka exits first tournament of her comeback in the second round in Brisbane after Karolina Pliskova recovers from one set down to progress; watch the Brisbane International live this week on Sky Sports
Wednesday 3 January 2024 08:35, UK
Naomi Osaka's first tournament appearance in more than two years has ended with a second-round defeat to 16th seed Karolina Pliskova at the Brisbane International.
Following an opening-round win over Germany's Tamara Korpatsch on Monday, Osaka looked to keep her momentum going against the Czech world No 39 but was ultimately outlasted 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-4.
In a battle of two former world No 1s, Osaka exploded out of the gates to claim the first set before Pliskova began to find her footing in the second.
After surviving an early break point, Pliskova capitalised on her serve to take control of the match, going on to win 92 per cent of her first-service points in the set.
Osaka continued to threaten throughout the final set, but was unable to make the most of her remaining opportunities in the narrow loss.
Osaka returned to the court on Monday for the first time since withdrawing from the Pan Pacific Trophy with a knee injury in September 2021. She became a mother for the first time in July.
But despite her comeback tournament not progressing beyond the second round, Osaka was nonetheless happy to be back on the court.
"The week is definitely shorter than I wanted it to be, but overall it was a great match and I had a lot of fun," said Osaka, who converted only two of 12 break point opportunities.
"I saw the stats after and my break points could have been better. But I think other than that, we both played really well. So hopefully she says the same thing."
Osaka said just being on the court was a "personal win" as she dealt with doubts a couple of weeks ago.
"These two matches I've had prove that I'm doing okay and the year is just going to get better for me."
Elsewhere, Australia's Daria Saville came agonisingly close to upsetting 11th seed Anastasia Potapova in a 6-4 3-6 6-4 defeat.
The world No 176 dropped the first set but battled back to convincingly claim the second in front of a raucous home crowd.
However Potapova showed plenty of her own fight in the decider, eventually wrapping up the result in two hours and 52 minutes.
Meanwhile, sixth seed Veronika Kudermetova cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over world No 73 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
The Brisbane International is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix this week