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Olympics Ladies Wrap: Naomi Osaka Stunned by Marketa Vondrousova

Marketa Vondrousova upset world No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-1, 6-4 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

By: Thomas Cluck
It was a stunning day all around Japan at these Tokyo 2020/2021 Olympic Games and that day of surprises and shockers spread to the Ariake Coliseum as host Japan’s hope Naomi Osaka, the four-time Grand Slam champion and star who lit the Olympic cauldron in the Opening Ceremony, was unceremoniously bounced from the tournament by Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.

Osaka’s dream gold medal quest was vanquished by the tricky lefty, the 2019 French Open finalist, going out meekly in straight sets in the third round 6-1, 6-4. 

Osaka, who controversially boycotted press conferences at Roland Garros earlier this year and subsequently withdrew in Paris before skipping the grass-court season as well due to mental health issues, had these home Olympics circled on her calendar for what seemed like ages, missing a medal many expected and leaving quite an open women’s singles draw going forward. Osaka, the current world number two and defending U.S. Open champion, will head to New York City next month to defend her title at the final major of the year.

Camila Giorgi upset Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova and will face Elina Svitolina for a semifinal spot. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Another top seed went out as well as recent Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova didn’t get the same luck her fellow Czech countrywoman Vondrousova did, losing in straight sets to the always dangerous, always unpredictable big-hitting game of Italy’s Camila Giorgi, who knocked out Team USA hope Jennifer Brady earlier in the tournament, 6-4, 6-2. 

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina survived a stern test from Greece’s Maria Sakkari later on Centre Court, advancing in three sets 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to put herself in good position for a potential medal run. Spain’s Garbine Muguruza kept her good run going with another dominant victory over Belgian Alison van Uytvanck, winning 6-1, 6-2 and making her a name to not look over on these fast Tokyo hard courts that the two-time major winner should thrive on.

2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejickova’s Czech luck also ran out as she lost out to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, leaving Muguruza as the sole Grand Slam champ remaining in this singles draw. 
In the doubles, the Swiss duo of Bencic and Viktorija Golubic knocked out Spain’s team of Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro 3-6, 6-1, 11-9 while the Czech Republic’s duo of Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova beat out another Spanish team of Paula Badosa Gibert and Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 5-7, 10-5. Team USA moved on as Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jessica Pegula beat out France’s Alize Cornet and Fiona Ferro 6-1, 6-4. 

Wednesday will see women’s quarterfinal action on the singles side headlined by battles between Muguruza and Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, who beat out talented Croat Donna Vekic, and Svitolina taking on Giorgi.