Tokyo Olympics: Japan’s Naomi Osaka cruised into the third round of tennis
Naomi Osaka of Japan sent a menacing message to competitors at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, rolling through Viktorija Golubic of Croatia 6-3 6-2 to advance to the third round of tennis.
This week, the Japanese second seed has been in outstanding form, returning to competition after a two-month layoff and fully embracing her role as one of the Tokyo Olympics’ most prominent ambassadors.
Winning Olympic gold on home soil would be the cherry on top, but Osaka is adamant not to get ahead of herself.
“Well you know, definitely it would mean a lot for me to win gold here but I know it’s a process,” she said.
“You know, these are the best players in the world and I honestly haven’t played in a while so I’m trying to keep it one match at a time. All in all, I’m just really happy to be here.”
Osaka had not played since withdrawing from the French Open after the first round in May, amidst controversy surrounding her choice to miss mandatory press conferences during the event in order to protect her mental health.
Last Monday, she made her first public appearance since the withdrawal by lighting the Olympic cauldron at the Games’ opening ceremony, a task she described as a sense of responsibility to Japan.
“Honestly I didn’t feel pressured. For me, I felt more excitement, this was like a sense of duty, like something I wanted to accomplish.”
In her encounter against Golubic, the 23-year-old was unflappable on serve in the first set and rattled off four games in a row to start the second.
The Swiss managed to keep her serve but couldn’t hold off the world number two’s onslaught.
Osaka won with a strong forehand to set up a match with either Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania or Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.