September 27, 2021

Naomi Osaka out of Tokyo 2020 Olympics after third round defeat

2 min read

Japan’s Naomi Osaka has been eliminated from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after losing in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round. The World No. 2 Osaka, who lit the ceremonial cauldron during the opening night, played her first competitive tennis match since withdrawing from the French Open in May citing mental health concerns.

The four-time Grand Slam champion played well in the tournament’s first and second rounds but struggled against Vondrousova in the third round. “I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this,” she said. “I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this,” Osaka said. “I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year was a bit much.”

The four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, who was born in Japan and grew up in the United States, is the face of this year’s Olympics because of her Japanese roots. She is expected to perform on top of her game as she plays on her home soil. However, the pressure seems too much that Osaka couldn’t handle it. Her opponent Vondrousova also felt the pressure that Osaka has to carry.  

“It’s tough for her also playing in Japan and in the Olympics,” Vondrousova said. “It’s so much pressure, I cannot imagine.” Vondrousova beat Osaka 6-1, 6-4, while Osaka had 32 unforced errors and won only 49% of her points when serving. The top two women’s tennis players have now lost at the Olympics as top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia lost in straight sets in the tournament opener.

The highest-ranking women’s singles player remaining is Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, the fourth seed. Meanwhile, in the men’s competition, Japan’s Kei Nishikori, a bronze medalist in 2016, was still in contention for Japan as he beat Marcos Giron of the United States 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1 to reach the last 16. Third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece also defeated an American, Frances Tiafoe, 6-3, 6-4.

In doubles, two-time defending gold medalist in singles Andy Murray and British partner Joe Salisbury reached the quarterfinals. “Being in the top 10 in the world (in doubles) he could select his partner,” Murray said. “I said to Joe that if he picked me to play doubles with him then I’d prioritize the doubles over the singles if I had any physical issues and that was the case.”

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