Naomi Osaka loses first match since becoming world No 1 as Kristina Mladenovic produces straight-set win to progress in Dubai Championships
- Naomi Osaka lost her first match since taking the world No 1 ranking last month
- The Australian Open champion was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Kristina Mladenovic
- It was also Osaka’s first match since she split with her coach Sascha Bajin
- The Japanese star gave no reasons for ending the pair’s successful partnership
World No 1 Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after losing in straight sets to France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
Osaka, who announced a surprise split from her coach Sascha Bajin, earlier this month, was beaten 6-3, 6-3 in the second round, having received a first-round bye as the top seed.
The 21-year-old, who won the Australian Open last month and the US Open last year, gave no reasons for ending her successful partnership with Bajin.
World No 1 Naomi Osaka suffered a shock defeat in her first match without coach Sascha Bajin
Osaka made 25 forced errors in a straight-sets defeat to France’s Kristina Mladenovic in Dubai
Osaka enjoyed a remarkable rise up the world rankings after first linking up with Bajin in the 2017 off-season.
The Japanese player climbed from 72nd to reach the top five during the course of 2018, when she won her first grand slam title, and then hit top spot after her success in Melbourne.
Bajin, who has previously worked as hitting partner for Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka, was named WTA coach of the year in 2018.
Rarely one to hide her emotions, Osaka was distraught at her performance in the tournament
He responded to Osaka’s tweet announcing the split by replying: ‘Thank you Naomi I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.’
Victory over Osaka represented the first time Mladenovic overcame a No 1 seed and she will now face former Qatar champion Carla Suarez Navarro for a spot in the Dubai quarter-finals.
The Spaniard edged past Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day to advance to the last-eight.
It was the first time Mladenovic had beaten a world No 1 player in her professional career