Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has lost her opening match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The game was her first after becoming world number one with her victory in the Australian Open.
France's Kristina Mladenovic beat her in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3 in Tuesday's match.
Mladenovic is ranked 67th in singles, but has two Grand Slam doubles titles and was a doubles runner-up in January's Australian Open. Osaka struggled against her solid returns, and made 25 unforced errors.
Osaka said she hadn't practicing well recently, but had still expected her rhythm to return in match play as has happened in the past .
Osaka split with Sascha Bajin, who coached her in both her Grand Slam victories, days before entering the tournament.
She said she was shaken by the public reaction to her decision, and admitted that it had affected her performance in Dubai. She said she finds it difficult to cope with the attention she now gets.
Bajin had helped Osaka win the recent Australian Open and the US Open in September. Osaka has yet to decide on a new coach.