As Naomi Osaka slung her bags over her shoulders to walk off Court Phillipe Chatrier, she lifted her head to soak in the standing ovation. There, she spun 360 degrees to salute the crowd after coming within a point of upsetting World No.1 and two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek in the second round on Wednesday. 

Swiatek dodged Osaka's resurgent performance to win 7-6(1), 1-6, 7-5. 

Osaka was laser-focused throughout the three-hour performance. So much so she actually had no idea how close she had come to pulling off the biggest upset of the tournament.

"I'm not even sure if I had a match point," she told reporters. "Maybe I did.

"I did? That sucks."

Osaka, a former No.1, could laugh about it though. That's good insight into her state of mind after closing out the clay season with her best performance in years.  

"Honestly, it's not the worst," Osaka said. "Like, I've felt worse, for sure. I cried when I got off the court, but then I kind of realize I was watching Iga win this tournament last year, and I was pregnant. It was just my dream to be able to play her. When I kind of think of it like that, I think I'm doing pretty well." 

Swiatek and Osaka are both four-time major champions and the only active players aged under 30 with more than two major titles. Three of Swiatek's four have come on the clay at Roland Garros. All four of Osaka's have come on hard courts. 

Both have won the US Open. 

"I'm also just trying not to be too hard on myself," Osaka said. "I feel like I played her on her better surface. I'm a hard-court kid, so I would love to play her on my surface and see what happens.

"I also said in Australia that I'm kind of setting myself up for September anyway."

Osaka said the US Open was already on her mind as she prepared to face Swiatek for the first time since the 2022 Miami Open final. There, Swiatek won 6-4, 6-0 to consolidate her rise to World No.1 for the first time. 

Osaka knew she was the heavy underdog Wednesday, but her focus throughout the match was a sign of respect for Swiatek, who is five wins away from her fifth major title and breaking a tie with Osaka. 

"I was kind of approaching it with how I approached my match against Serena the first time in the US Open," Osaka said. "I just wanted to focus on me, and no matter what happened outside of the court I didn't try to put my mind to it."

For much of the riveting three-hour duel, Osaka's baseline power left Swiatek scratching her head. Osaka fired 54 winners to only 38 unforced errors, a +16 ratio. She had a set point in the first set and led 5-2 with a match point in the third, but once again, Iga the Inevitable appeared to swipe victory from the edge of defeat. 

"I told people I was a little delusional when I was coming back, but I think for me I kind of see my game as being good against anybody," Osaka said. I also was raised with not having any fear. I think going into a match fearing someone is kind of pointless. 

"So yeah, I don't necessarily think about damaging my opponent, but I'm more focused on what I think I can accomplish. I still feel like I can accomplish a lot."

The summer hard courts will have to wait for a little longer. Next up for Osaka is the grass season, another natural surface that she is working to gain comfort. She took strides during the clay season, notching her first two career Top 20 wins on the surface and pushing the definitive No.1 clay-courter to the limit. 

But can she make similar gains on grass? Osaka is already keen to get to work. She has taken a wild card into the Libema Open in s'Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, which begins on the Monday after the French Open. 

"Definitely made it a goal of mine to be better on clay and grass when I came back," Osaka said. "I definitely need to put in a lot of hours and hopefully play a lot of tournaments. I'm kind of excited for it because I feel like it's definitely a new challenge for me. I haven't played that many grass tournaments.

"After this, it's something new to figure out."