Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Vondrousova ousts Osaka in Olympics

Japanese star Naomi Osaka faced enormous pressure
in the Tokyo Olympics. "I don't really know how to cope
with that pressure," she said. 2018 photo by Mal Taam
   The pressure proved to be too much for Naomi Osaka.
   Playing in her home country, the second-ranked Osaka lost to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4 today in the third round of the Tokyo Olympics. 
   Osaka made her WTA main-draw debut at 16 at Stanford in 2014. The left-handed Vondrousova reached the final of the 2019 French Open at age 19, losing to Ashleigh Barty.
   Osaka was playing in her first tournament since withdrawing from the French Open early last month amid controversy over her decision to skip mandatory news conferences.
   "I've taken long breaks before, and I've managed to do well," Osaka told reporters. "I'm not saying that I did bad right now, but I do know that my expectations were a lot higher.
   "I feel like my attitude wasn't that great because I don't really know how to cope with that pressure, so that's the best that I could have done in this situation."
   Entering the Olympic quarterfinals, the highest remaining seed in women's singles is No. 4 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
   Two players entered in next week's Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., both of whom reached the French Open quarterfinals this year, advanced to the last eight in Tokyo,
   No. 15 seed Elena Rybakina, a Russia native who represents Kazakhstan, defeated Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-6 (3), 6-4. Vekic ousted No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka, a Wimbledon semifinalist three weeks ago, on Monday. Sabalenka beat Vekic in the San Jose semifinals in 2019 before losing to Zheng Saisai.
   Unseeded Paula Badosa, a New York native who plays for Spain, dismissed Nadia Podoroska of Argentina 6-2, 6-3. Last October, Podoroska became the first female qualifier to reach the French Open semifinals.
   In the second round of Olympic men's doubles, Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig of Croatia beat Americans Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley, and Frances Tiafoe, who won the 2016 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger at 18, 6-3, 7-5. Ram and Venus Williams claimed the silver medal in mixed doubles in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.   
   ATP Tour — San Francisco Bay Area natives Sam Querrey, 33, and Mackenzie McDonald, 26, lost in the first round of the Truist Atlanta Open.
   Qualifier Peter Gojowczyk of Germany edged Querrey 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in a brisk 1 hour, 57 minutes in the completion of a rain-suspended match. Querrey blasted 36 aces, won 88 percent of the points on his first serve (53 of 60) and never lost his serve.
   Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland topped McDonald 7-6 (3), 7-5.    
   ATP Challenger Tour — No. 1 seed Jenson Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, dispatched Liam Draxl, a 19-year-old wild card from Canada, 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round of the $52,080 Lexington (Ky.) Challenger.
   Brooksby reached the final of the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, R.I., two weeks ago in his first tournament ever on grass and first in the main draw on the ATP Tour.
   WTA Tour — No. 4 seed Varvara Lepchenko, a U.S. citizen from Uzbekistan, beat Carol Zhao (Stanford, 2014-16) of Canada 6-1, 7-5 in the first round of the LTP Women's Open on clay in Charleston, S.C. 
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 13 seed William Griffith, a former Cal standout from Fresno, Calif., defeated Kento Takeuchi of Japan 6-4, 6-3 in the final round of qualifying for the $25,000 Neitzel Family Open in Champaign, Ill.
   No. 15 qualifying seed Eliot Spizzirri, a rising sophomore at the University of Texas from Greenwich, Conn., eliminated Connor Farren, a Bay Area native who played at USC, 6-3, 6-2.

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