Osaka's comeback is not going the way the Japanese player hoped for. The fault mostly lies on her because she's not been playing how she thought she would, but the draws haven't been helping her.
She got a bad draw at the Australian Open, where she lost in the first match. She got a bad draw last week in Abu Dhabi as well, doubly so because first she had to face Danielle Collins and then, if she had won, Elena Rybakina.
She didn't win, so it didn't matter, but the bad luck continued in Doha. She drew Caroline Garcia again, which is not good news for the four-time Grand Slam champion.
Why isn't it good news? Well, because they played recently at the Australian Open, and Garcia won that match. It wasn't an easy match or easy win for Garcia, but she was still able to overcome Osaka without any issues, 6-4, 7-6(2).
The glaring problem for Osaka was that she was nowhere near Garcia fitness-wise, and that's what lost her the match. When the rallies developed, she had no chance. She's still not in shape, so expect similar issues here as well, especially with how Doha plays.
Does that mean Garcia will win again? I think that she will because there are other things, which make me not like this matchup for Osaka. Mostly, it's her comments after the Abu Dhabi Open loss, where she talked about losing confidence due to how badly her comeback has been going.
The last thing you want for a tennis player is for her to lose confidence, and the recent matchup might have increased that feeling for Osaka. I just don't think she's ready yet to take down big fish like Garcia.
Prediction: Caroline Garcia to win in two sets.