NAOMI OSAKA returned to Grand Slam tennis following maternity leave in exactly the way she left it, a first-round loss.

She went down 4-6, 6-7 (2) to the No. 16 seed French woman Caroline Garcia.

26 year old Osaka had given birth to daughter Shai in July last year, and only returned to the WTA tour in Brisbane two weeks ago losing in the second round  to Karolina Pliskova.

A double fault gave 30 year old Garcia her first break opportunity of the match in the fifth game, and she quickly converted it to take the lead.

Former No. 1 Osaka won her first three service games of the second set without dropping a point, but Garcia herself was serving impeccably and the Japanese was unable to put her opponent under pressure.

This result ensures a new Australian Open quarter finalist.

Osaka was the only player in this section of the draw to have made it to the last eight here before.

In addition to Garcia, the only other players in this part of the draw to have reached  any major quarter final before are Leylah Fernandez and Coco Gauff.

Main photo:- Caroline Garcia celebrates in Melbourne by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd