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Naomi Osaka fought back from the edge to win her 16th consecutive Grand Slam competition

Naomi Osaka wins the 16th consecutive Grand Slam victory, as world number 1 beats Victoria Azarenka and thus completes the third round of the French Open

  • The world number 1 has won the last two majors in Australia and the US
  • She had two points to go out seven times in her first round
  • Naomi Osaka quickly fell 5-1 on Thursday against Victoria Azarenka
  • Osaka turned the result to the third round of Roland Garros
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Naomi Osaka fought back from the edge to win her 16th consecutive Grand Slam game in an epic game against a resurrecting Victoria Azarenka.

From a set and 4-2 down to a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 winner, who can stop this 21-year-old who is shy and endearing awkwardly, but can do it hard?

Osaka, who won the last two majors in Australia and the US, had two points in seven games in her first round and quickly fell 5-1 against Azarenka.

Naomi Osaka fought back from the edge to win her 16th consecutive Grand Slam competition

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Naomi Osaka fought back from the edge to win her 16th consecutive Grand Slam competition

What followed was a thrilling competition that so far maintained the billing as the women's draw so far, the two double Grand Slam champions threw everything together for two hours and 50 minutes.

The major titles of Azarenka came to Australia in 2012 and 2013 and her career and life has since undergone a number of twists and turns. She gave birth to son Leo in December 2016 and her return to the tour was delayed by a custody dispute, which meant that she could not get her son out of their home state of California.

She returned last March and struggled to take shape, but here she looked every inch of the woman who was always aware of Serena Williams. She floats around 50 in the world and plays fantastic, but is at the mercy of the draw. Avoid the big names in the early rounds on Wimbledon and she could collect quite a few points.

The 29-year-old from Belarus threw everything in Osaka here in Paris. Her double-handed backhand was particularly the best and the treatment was slightly shorter than Osaka.

Victoria Azarenka returned last March and has been struggling for form ever since

Victoria Azarenka returned last March and has been struggling for form ever since

Victoria Azarenka returned last March and has been struggling for form ever since

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Just like in her first round, Osaka was blown up early and fell 5-1 behind. But she has deep reserves of mental resilience and she had to mine them here. She moved on to the baseline and took the game to Azarenka, attacking the ball and supporting herself to hit more winners than losers. Her final count was 52 winners to 43 casual errors.

There were three epic games on the Azarenka serving in the second set. Osaka lost the first, but won the next two, including the decisive break at 6-5.

In the third set Osaka rode her momentum. Azarenka looked consumed by frustration, shouting at herself, throbbing on her thigh and willing to re-educate herself. After she was served 0-40 on her, she threw her racket in horror into the clay.

It worked to a certain extent when she recovered from 5-1 to 5-3. But the second time Osaka was asked to hand out the competition.

It will take something or someone special to end her extraordinary Grand Slam run.

Osaka (right) was two points out seven times going out in her first round match
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Osaka (right) was two points out seven times going out in her first round match

Osaka (right) was two points out seven times going out in her first round match

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