Olympics: Vondrousova beats Osaka after Tsitsipas advances

  • Matt Trollope

Japanese star Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Olympic women’s singles event at Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday, losing in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova.

Osaka sprayed 32 unforced errors in her 6-1 6-4 loss to the Czech left-hander, who progressed to the quarterfinals after just 68 minutes of play.

In the preceding match on Centre Court, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas avenged his first-round Wimbledon defeat to Frances Tiafoe to take his place in the third round of the men’s singles.

Other winners on Tuesday included Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza, Kei Nishikori and Diego Schwartzman, but Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova, both of Czech Republic, exited the tournament.

Osaka’s bid for gold ends

Vondrouosva, most notable for her run to the Roland Garros final in 2019, appeared to have rekindled that form of two years prior when she stormed through the first set against an unusually cautious Osaka, won less than 40 per cent of her first-serve points and hit less winners than the Czech.

In a tighter second set, Osaka broke immediately and moved ahead 2-0, and also earned two break points for a 4-3 lead when she arrived at 15-40 in the seventh game. 

But mistakes continually tripped her up, and Vondrousova completed victory on her third match point to hand Osaka only her second loss in her past 27 hard-court matches.

Vondrousova will next meet Spain's Paula Badosa, who brushed Nadia Podoroska of Argentina aside 6-2 6-3, while another Spaniard, Muguruza, stopped Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4 6-1. 

Muguruza is the second-highest ranked player left in the tournament behind fourth seed Svitolina, after the Ukrainian won an intense Centre Court battle against Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Elina Svitolina celebrates her win over Maria Sakkari in the third round of the Olympic Tennis Event in Toyko, a result snapping a two-match losing streak against the Greek and marking her third straight three-set win in the tournament. (Getty Images)

Svitolina will face Camila Giorgi in the quarterfinals after the Italian surprised Pliskova 6-4 6-2, while there was another upset in the top quarter when Swiss Belinda Bencic stunned in-form Krejcikova, despite losing the first set 6-1.

Bencic will take on 13th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – who ended the impressive run of Sara Sorribes Tormo – for a place in the semifinals.    

Tsitsipas continues on his way

Third seed Tsitsipas appears reenergised after the mini-slump that followed his five-set defeat in June's Roland Garros final to Novak Djokovic.

In his next match at Wimbledon, Tsitsipas lost in straight sets to Tiafoe then fell early on clay in Hamburg, but the Greek is once more playing assertively, overwhelming Tiafoe with nine aces among 28 winners – more than double the American’s final winner count of 13.

Despite a couple of mis-timed backhands, Tsitsipas kept his unforced error count to a tidy 16 in winning 6-3 6-4, and will next face Frenchman Ugo Humbert after the 14th seed overcame Serb Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5 in the third set.

Former world No.4 Nishikori kept the host nation's hopes alive with a three-set win over Marcos Giron in the last match of the day on Centre Court, while Brit Liam Broady, ranked No.143, caused an notable upset with his 7-5 3-6 6-3 win over Poland's Hubert Hurkacz, the seventh seed who recently reached the Wimbledon semifinals. 

In other results, eighth seed Schwartzman and No.12 seed Karen Khachanov set up a third-round clash after scoring straight-sets wins over Czech Tomas Machac and Australia's James Duckworth respectively.

Frenchman Jeremy Chardy stopped 11th seed Aslan Karatsev 7-5 4-6 6-3. 

Doubles: Murray & Salisbury into quarters

Britons Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury remain on track for a medal after beating Germans Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz 6-2 7-6(2) in the last 16 on Tuesday.

Murray's Olympic hopes suffered a setback when he was forced to withdraw from the singles event two days ago due to a minor thigh strain. But he later revealed this decision was based on medical advice that his body could not cope with the workload of competing in two events.

Andy Murray (L) and Joe Salisbury are yet to drop a set in reaching the men's doubles quarterfinals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (Getty Images)

Continuing his campaign with AO 2020 doubles champion Salisbury, the duo will next face Croatian pairing Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig, who beat Americans Rajeev Ram and Frances Tiafoe 6-3 7-5.

Meanwhile, it was a great day for Bencic; alongside fellow Swiss Viktorija Golubic, she backed up her singles win with a tense 3-6 6-1 [11-9] victory over Spaniards Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro. 

No.1 seeds Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova survived Spaniards Badosa and Sorribes Tormo 6-2 5-7 [10-5] under lights in Tokyo and will take on Australians Ash Barty and Storm Sanders in the quarterfinals.

Quotes of the day

"I also (beat) Simona (Halep) twice, but I think now she (Osaka) is the greatest. The greatest in the game, and she was also the face of the Olympics so it was tough for her, I think, to play like this. It's so much pressure, I cannot imagine.''
- Marketa Vondrousova on Naomi Osaka

"I'm disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others. I should be used to the pressure, but it's stronger because of my break. At least I'm glad I didn't lose in the first round."
- Naomi Osaka

“I’m always trying to find to find solutions, find ways to fix my mistakes and get a better outcome - that was the case today. I was able to maintain the high levels of concentration and deliver good tennis in moments where I had to. It was a very-well balanced game, mentally.”
- Stefanos Tsitsipas, who said he had learned from his defeat to Tiafoe at Wimbledon.

Image of the day

CONTRASTING EMOTIONS: Stefanos Tsitsipas (R) meets Frances Tiafoe at net after winning their second-round match in straight sets at the Ariake Coliseum. (Getty Images)

Tweet of the day

Serbia's Nina Stojanovic shared her excitement at teaming with illustrious countryman Novak Djokovic, the world No.1.

The mixed doubles draw was released earlier on Tuesday.

Day 5: Ones to watch

Djokovic continues on his gold medal quest when he takes on 16th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain in the third match of the day on Centre Court.

The Serb, who is yet to drop a set in Tokyo and who is riding a 20-match winning streak, will return to the same court at the end of the day in partnership with Stojanovic as mixed doubles action begins. 

ORDER OF PLAY: Day 5

Like Djokovic, No.2 seed Daniil Medvedev will also play for a quarterfinal place when he takes on Italian Fabio Fognini first up on Centre, while in the women's draw, Svitolina searches for a semifinal berth against the big-hitting Giorgi in the first match of the day on Court 1.

Muguruza will also look to reach the semis when she tackles Kazakh Elena Rybakina on Court 2, after Tsitsipas plays Humbert for a place in the last eight.