Naomi Osaka’s bid to win gold at her residence Olympics is over after she was crushed in straight units by world No 42 Marketa Vondrousova.
The world No 2, competing for the primary time in Tokyo after an eight-week break to guard her psychological well being, was the highest-ranked participant left within the ladies’s singles competitors after Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty’s shock opening-round defeat to Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.
That had additional elevated the stress on the 23-year-old’s shoulders, who has lengthy been recognized as Japan’s golden woman at these Games, and who was chosen to gentle the Olympic flame in Friday’s opening ceremony.
But her desires have been dramatically dashed within the third spherical as an impressed Vondrousova triumphed in straight units, 6-1, 6-4, after an hour and eight minutes.
The Czech, presently ranked 42 on this planet however with a profession excessive of 14 from July 2019, broke Osaka within the very first sport after which refused to relinquish her stranglehold, turning into the primary participant to take a set off the Japanese participant at these Olympics.
With all 11 exterior courts not seeing any motion because of the rain introduced by tropical storm Nepartak, all eyes have been on centre court docket the place an out-of-sorts Osaka wanted to rally shortly.
The blue laborious court docket ought to have been her buddy, in spite of everything she had received 25 out of the final 26 matches she had performed on the floor, successful 4 out of six Grand Slams alongside the way in which.
A break of serve adopted by a maintain to like was a very good response for Osaka however the impressed Vondrousova, maybe with a degree to show having certified considerably controversially forward of the higher-ranked Karolina Muchova to make it onto the loaded Czech staff, broke again shortly afterwards to convey issues again on serve.
At 3-3, Osaka had a sniff of one other break when Vondrousova chucked in back-to-back double faults however the Czech participant someway managed to get better from 15-40 down to carry, the smile of aid on her face saying all the pieces.
The subsequent two video games would additionally go along with serve and so, at 4-5 down, Osaka was serving to remain within the match. A nation held its breath. Two match factors towards their hero was not what they needed to see however Osaka dug deep to take the sport to deuce. She even had an opportunity to carry however her inconsistency – she would make 32 unforced errors general – struck once more, a 3rd match level towards her proving an excessive amount of as her return flew vast of the tramlines.