After two good early wins, Naomi Osaka was dusted in the third round Tuesday at the Tokyo Olympics by Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-4 in routine fashion.
“I think this is one of the biggest, for sure,” Vondrousova said of the win. “I beat Simona twice, but I think Naomi, she is the greatest now, the greatest in the game, and she’s also the face of the Olympics. It was tough for her, I think, to play like this. But I’m too happy now.”
Osaka, who had been one of the faces of the Olympics this year, was ragged and listless and look slow afoot. The world No. 2 finished with 32 unforced errors and won just 33% of her second serves.
“For me, I feel like I should be used to it by now,” said Osaka of the pressure. “But at the same time, I think the scale of everything is a bit higher because of the break that I took. I’m sad that I lost, of course, but all in all really happy with my first Olympic experience.”
Vondrousova mixed in some deft drop shots and used her big serve and lefty forehand to foil the Japanese star. She moves on to face Spaniard Paula Badosa who is finding success on the hard courts following up her big win over Iga Swiatek by holding off 2020 French semifinalist Nadia Podoroska.
Another Top 5 seed also exited as Wimbledon finalist and Vondrousova’s countrywoman Karolina Pliskova was bounced by Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2. The 29-year-old Italian has been on fire in her Olympic debut. She hasn’t dropped a set in three matches.
The lone Top 5 seed Elina Svitolina held on to beat Maria Sakkari in a tough 3 set affair 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Giorgi will be next tomorrow.
“She strikes the ball big so I have to be ready for that. It’s going to be another tough battle, so I’ll try and bring my best game,” Svitolina said.
“I am trying not to think about my body but it’s hurting here and there. In the end, I’m very happy with the win today. It was another tough battle but it definitely brings me a lot of confidence and I will now spend hours recovering and will be ready for tomorrow.”
No. 9 seed Belinda Bencic beat No. 8 and French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova coming from a set down 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. She’ll now face the hot-handed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who kept rolling defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1, 6-3.
“She is a very dangerous opponent,” said Bencic of Pavlyuchenkova. “Right now, she is playing the best tennis of her whole career. For sure, it’s a very difficult match, like always.
“Every match, your opponent is very difficult. I’m really happy about today. I go with a free mind tomorrow. I think I did a great result here and I really can just enjoy now.”
Two-time Slam winner Garbine Muguruza is arguably now the favorite and playing like it. The Spaniard hasn’t dropped a set and today eased past Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-1. She’ll face Elena Rybankina.
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