Naomi Osaka of Japan was defeated 6-1, 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, ending her hopes of earning Olympic gold in her native country.
Osaka, who lighted the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony, battled in an error-plagued performance beneath the roof of Ariake Tennis Park’s center court and was knocked out in 68 minutes.
She got off to a bad start by dropping serve in the first game. As 2019 French Open runner-up Vondrousova sped away in the first set, the second seed was broken twice more.
Osaka broke in the second set, but a double fault gave Vondrousova the early lead, tying the game at two games apiece.
The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam winner struggled with inconsistency and had no response to Vondrousova’s array of deft drop shots, even when given a chance to reclaim the initiative.
Osaka survived two match points while serving to keep the match at 4-5, but Vondrousova converted on the third attempt after Osaka smashed a backhand wide.
The loss follows a tumultuous few months for Osaka, who first refused to attend news conferences at the French Open before announcing she was taking a break from tennis to deal with depression and anxiety.
She missed Wimbledon but returned for the Olympics, and in the early rounds of the Tokyo event, she appeared to be back on track.
Vondrousova, ranked 42nd, will face either Paula Badosa of Spain or Nadia Podoroska of Argentina in the next round.