Tokyo 2020: Naomi Osaka out of Olympics tennis tournament after losing to Marketa Vondrousova
Naomi Osaka loses in straight sets against Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova in third round of women's singles at Tokyo Games, ending her hopes of becoming the first Japanese tennis player to win Olympic gold
Last Updated: 10/08/21 1:09pm
There will be no gold medal for the face of the Tokyo Olympics after Naomi Osaka was beaten by Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of the women's singles.
The 23-year-old had hoped to play a starring role in the Games on the court as well as off it but lighting the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony will be the high point.
Osaka had looked good in her first two matches, particularly against Viktorija Golubic on Monday, but former French Open finalist Vondrousova was a step up in level and the young Czech produced an excellent performance under the roof at the Ariake Tennis Park to win 6-1 6-4.
Vondrousova mixed her trademark drop shots with big serves and powerful groundstrokes and defended brilliantly when Osaka got her game going in the second set.
Also out of the women's singles event is French Open champion Barbora Krejicova, meaning all three Grand Slam champions this year have been eliminated.
World No 1 and Wimbledon winner Ashleigh Barty was beaten in the first round over the weekend, and not long after Australian Open champion Osaka's exit, it was Krejikova who tumbled out, following defeat to Switzerland's Belina Bencic.
Osaka's defeat was the day's big story as the women's quarter-final line-up was completed. The four-time Grand Slam champion did not move as well as she can, perhaps a legacy of the eight-week break she took for mental health reasons prior to this tournament.
Osaka had won 25 of her last 26 matches on hard courts, winning grand slams at the US Open and Australian Open and, particularly given the early defeat for Barty, the stage seemed set for her to claim arguably the biggest title of them all.
Tokyo Olympics: Women's quarter-finals
|Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (ROC) vs Belinda Bencic (Sui)|
|Elena Rybakina (Kaz) vs Garbine Muguruza (Spa)|
|Camila Giorgi (Ita) vs Elina Svitolina (Ukr)|
|Paula Badosa (Spa) vs Marketa Vondrousova (Cze)|
But instead, it is 22-year-old Vondrousova who becomes the first player through to the quarter-finals, where she will take on Spain's Paula Badosa after she was a comfortable straight sets winner over Argentina's Nadio Podoroska.
Osaka, who had hoped to become the first Japanese tennis player to win Olympic gold, had no answer to Vondrousova in the first set.
She responded well at the start of the second with a break of serve but was quickly pegged back and, although she saved two match points at 5-4, another followed and Osaka sent a backhand wide.
World No 6 Elina Svitolina is the highest ranked player left in the field, the Ukrainian battled back from losing the first set to beat Greece's Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-3 6-4 to book her place in the last eight.
Svitolina will face Italy's Camila Giorgi after the world No 61 stunned Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-2.