Osaka stunned at Tokyo Olympics as Japan's 'face of the Games' loses to Vondrousova

By Sports Desk July 27, 2021

Naomi Osaka saw her Olympic gold medal dream shattered by a third-round defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday.

Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday and was widely hailed as the 'face of the Games', with enormous expectation that she would go on to triumph for hosts Japan.

The early exit of world number one Ash Barty seemed to help her case, but Osaka lost 6-1 6-4 to her Czech opponent in an hour and eight minutes.

Osaka played a dismal opening set but then looked to have raised her game a notch in the second, establishing an early break.

However, that did not herald a full-blown fightback as former French Open runner-up Vondrousova soon got back on level terms and forced Osaka to serve to stay in the contest.

From 15-40, Osaka saved two match points, but Vondrousova soon had a third opportunity and her spirited defence won out.

Osaka flung a backhand wide this time and Vondrousova had her prized scalp, securing a place in the quarter-finals at the expense of the world number two.

It was an untidy performance from Osaka who made 32 unforced errors to just 10 from Vondrousova.

This was Osaka's first tournament since pulling out of the French Open at the end of May, in the wake of a first-round win. She cited depression and anxiety issues in Paris after announcing she would not take part in news conferences during the tournament.

Related items

  • Kyrgios' assault case adjourned until February on mental health grounds Kyrgios' assault case adjourned until February on mental health grounds

    Nick Kyrgios' lawyers will apply for the tennis star's assault charge to be dismissed on mental health grounds, an Australian court was told on Tuesday.

    Kyrgios was charged in July of this year in relation to the alleged assault of a former partner in January 2021.

    The 27-year-old, who has enjoyed a fine season in 2022, reaching the final of Wimbledon and the last eight at the US Open, was not present for a hearing in Canberra on Tuesday, as he features in the Japan Open.

    Michael Kukulies-Smith, who is representing Kyrgios, asked for the case to be adjourned so forensic mental health reports could be prepared.

    The case was duly adjourned to February 3, 2023 by magistrate Glenn Theakston. It is then expected Kyrgios' legal representatives will apply to have the case dismissed, with Kukulies-Smith stating he was making the application having reviewed Kyrgios' "medical history since 2015, including public disclosures of his mental health struggles".

    Australian law dictates that magistrates have the power to dismiss a charge if they believe an accused person is mentally impaired, and that dealing with a charge in such a manner would be of benefit to both the defendant and the community.

    Kyrgios could face two years in prison should he be handed a maximum sentence.

     

  • Rybakina through, Azarenka out in Ostrava as Stefanini surprises as Jasmin Open Rybakina through, Azarenka out in Ostrava as Stefanini surprises as Jasmin Open

    Elena Rybakina advanced to the last 16 at the Ostrava Open on Monday, but fellow former grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka exited at the first hurdle.

    Rybakina, who has struggled for consistency since victory at Wimbledon earlier this year, came back from a set down to dispatch Madison Keys with a 5-7 6-3 6-3 win.

    She could face eighth seed Jelena Ostapenko in the next round, but one name not in the draw will be Azarenka, who could not claw back victory against Ekaterina Alexandrova in a 6-4 4-6 2-6 defeat.

    Alexandrova is in line to play either Emma Raducanu or Daria Kasatkina in the next stage.

    Meanwhile, top seeds Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa earned the identity of their opponents after receiving first-round byes.

    Swiatek will play Ajla Tomljanovic, who progressed in straight sets against Zhang Shuai, as Badosa faces Petra Kvitova, who was made to work a little harder in three by Bernarda Pera.

    At the Jasmin Open, third, fifth and seventh seeds Alize Cornet, Elise Mertens and Katerina Siniakova each advanced with respective straight-sets routs of Laura Pigossi, Jaqueline Cristian and Chloe Paquet – the latter retiring as she trailed 4-0 in the second set.

    But eighth seed Magda Linette is out after letting an early lead slip against Lucrezia Stefanini, who celebrated a 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory.

  • Rublev cruises past Djere at Astana Open, Tiafoe through in Tokyo Rublev cruises past Djere at Astana Open, Tiafoe through in Tokyo

    World number nine Andrey Rublev comfortably beat qualifier Laslo Djere 6-4 6-3 to secure his place in the second round of the Astana Open.

    The fifth seed found a crucial break of serve when leading the opener 5-4 to take the first set in Kazakhstan, before winning the next three games to put himself in the ascendancy in the second.

    And despite a desperate last stand to stay in the match from Djere, Rublev held serve three times with relative ease to finish off his Serbian opponent.

    Eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime served 14 aces to Roberto Bautista-Agut's two in their first-round match, but it was the Spaniard who advanced with a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) success.

    Meanwhile, world number 10 Hubert Hurkacz overcame Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets.

    Adrian Mannarino, the runner-up in Astana in 2020, came from a set down to beat Stan Wawrinka – playing as a wildcard – 1-6 6-2 6-3, and qualifier Zhizhen Zhang romped to victory with a superb third set to seal a 4-6 6-4 6-1 comeback win of his own over Aslan Karatsev.

    At the Tokyo Open, fourth seed Frances Tiafoe cruised into the second round with a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Yasutaka Uchiyama, one of three Japanese players who crashed out at the first-round stage of their home tournament.

    Uchiyama's countrymen Taro Daniel and Shintaro Mochizuki also tasted defeat at the hands of Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Brandon Nakashima, respectively.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.