Olympics: Djokovic cruises as women’s big names fall

  • Matt Trollope

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, the world’s top two men, remain on course for a heavyweight gold medal clash after winning their second-round matches at the Tokyo Olympics.

Top seed Djokovic saw off dangerous German Jan-Lennard Struff after Russia’s Medvedev crushed Sumit Nagal of India for the loss of just three games.

After a spectacular start for the women’s seeds earlier on Monday, upsets emerged as the day’s play unfolded, with third seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belrus, Poland’s Iga Swiatek and Czech two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova all exiting in the second round.

READ MORE: Osaka, Muguruza, Krejcikova storm into last 16

However, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova, the fourth and fifth seeds respectively, won in three sets to move closer to a projected quarterfinal meeting.

Djokovic, Medvedev, Zverev cruise

Serbia’s Djokovic continued his imperious form at Ariake Tennis Park, beating Struff 6-4 6-3 to set a third-round meeting with No.16 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain. 

The world No.1 broke Struff to love to take the first set and surged to a 4-1 lead in the second thanks to brilliantly aggressive hitting and well-rounded shot selection.

He capped victory with an ace to earn his 20th straight match win as he continues on his quest for an incredible calendar-year ‘Golden Grand Slam’.

Earlier on Centre Court, No.4 seed Alexander Zverev breezed into round three with a 6-2 6-2 win over Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan and will next face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat 13th seed Lorenzo Sonego in three.

Even more dominant was Medvedev, who swatted Nagal aside 6-2 6-1 to set up a third-round match with 15th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy. 

Also advancing was sixth seed Pablo Carreno Busta, the Spaniard who recovered to beat Marin Cilic 5-7 6-4 6-4. 

Afternoon upsets in women’s draw

It was a strong start to the day for the women’s seeds when Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza, Barbora Krejcikova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Maria Sakkari and Elena Rybakina all won through to the third round in dominant fashion.

But it did not continue that way.

Kvitova faded to a 5-7 6-3 6-0 loss to Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, preventing a blockbuster showdown with Muguruza. 

Sabalenka led Donna Vekic 4-2 in the final set before the Croat rebounded to post a 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) triumph, setting a match-up with Rybakina. 

And Swiatek was distraught after falling 6-3 7-6(4) to Spaniard Paula Badosa, the Roland Garros quarterfinalist who goes on to play Argentine Nadia Podoroska.

Badosa’s countrywoman and doubles partner Sara Sorribes Tormo continued her excellent Games, backing up her win over world No.1 Ash Barty with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Fiona Ferro. 

Pliskova survived a three-set struggle with another Spaniard, the inspirational Carla Suarez Navarro, while Svitolina’s 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over Ajla Tomljanovic moved her through to a meeting with Sakkari. 

No.9 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland saw off Japan’s Misaki Doi in straight sets and will next face Krejcikova.

Doubles: Aussie women advance to quarters

Barty's disappointment at her singles result has been tempered by her performance in the doubles draw, with the Australian teaming with countrywoman Storm Sanders to reach the quarterfinals.

Barty and Sanders overcame Chinese duo Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan 6-4 6-4 to advance to the last eight, where they joined fellow Aussies Sam Stosur and Ellen Perez.

Stosur and Perez trailed 5-1 in the first set and saved seven set points before closing out a 7-6(3) 7-5 win. 

Both Aussie teams are yet to find out who they play in the quarterfinals. 

In the last result to come through from Ariake Tennis Park on Monday, No.1 seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia survived a spirited challenge from Italians Sonego and Lorenzo Musetti in winning 7-5 6-7(5) [10-7].

Quotes of the day

“I put this pressure on myself to do well because I know that I don’t play that many tournaments. For me, I feel like I’ve watched these players playing the tournaments while I was on my break, so I just really, really want to do well.”
- Naomi Osaka, whose last tournament prior to the Olympics came almost two months ago at Roland Garros.

“I think in a country like we have with Switzerland, I think the people are expecting very much. They are very, how do you say in nice words… spoiled to have good results. I’m just really grateful that I can be one of them. I never imagined that I could be in this era of Swiss tennis. I’m very happy I can actually be here. I’m not taking it as a pressure, but as a privilege.”
- Belinda Bencic, who revealed countryman Roger Federer had messaged her first-round doubles win alongside Golubic.

Tweet of the day

Image of the day

An elated Donna Vekic of Croatia celebrates her third-round victory over No.3 Aryna Sabalenka, during which she recovered from 4-2 down in the final set to seal a place in the last 16. (Getty Images)

Day 4: Ones to watch

Greece and Japan take centre stage when the action continues in Tokyo on Day 4 of the tennis competition.

Stefanos Tsitsipas opens play on Centre Court and will play for a place in the last 16 against Frances Tiafoe, the American who stunned him in the first round at Wimbledon.

Two matches later on the same court, Tsitsipas’ fellow Greek Sakkari plays for a quarterfinal place against Svitolina. 

In between those matches, Osaka will play for a third win in as many days when she takes on Czech lefty Marketa Vondrousova, before Kei Nishikori battles Marcos Giron in the second round.