Japan’s Naomi Osaka suffered a 6-1, 6-4 defeat to Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of the Tokyo Games on Tuesday, crushing her dreams of winning Olympic gold at home.
Meanwhile, Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the third round of the Olympics men’s tennis tournament on Tuesday as he avenged last month’s Wimbledon loss to Frances Tiafoe.
The Greek third seed downed American Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4 under the centre court roof at Ariake Tennis Park, where all play on outside courts was delayed an hour by morning drizzle.
Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony, struggled in an error-strewn display under the centre court roof at Ariake Tennis Park and was knocked out in 68 minutes.
She made a dreadful start by dropping serve in the opening game. The second seed was broken twice more as 2019 French Open runner-up Vondrousova raced away with the first set.
Osaka broke in the second set but relinquished the early advantage with a double fault that allowed Vondrousova to level at two games apiece.
The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam winner grappled with inconsistency, and even when given a sniff of regaining the initiative she had no response to Vondrousova’s array of crafty drop shots.
Osaka saved two match points as she served to stay alive at 4-5 but Vondrousova converted at the third time of asking as the Japanese star smacked a backhand wide.
The defeat comes after a turbulent few months for Osaka, who first refused to attend press conferences at the French Open and then said she was taking time out from tennis as she battled depression and anxiety.
She missed Wimbledon but returned for the Olympic tournament and had seemed back on her game in the early rounds in Tokyo.
Vondrousova, ranked 42nd, will go on to face Spain’s Paula Badosa or Nadia Podoroska of Argentina.
Tsitsipas, who is also entered in mixed doubles with Maria Sakkari, will play France’s Ugo Humbert or Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Having lost to Tiafoe in the opening round at Wimbledon, Tsitsipas ensured there was no repeat disappointment as a single break in each set enabled him to wrap up victory in 77 minutes.
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