Swiatek Cruises In Olympic Opener As Djokovic Begins Gold Medal Bid

Swiatek cruises in Olympic opener as Djokovic begins gold medal bid

Tokyo, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 24th Jul, 2021 ) :Poland's Iga Swiatek swept into the second round of the Olympics tennis tournament on Saturday as Novak Djokovic prepared to launch his bid for a gold medal.

Swiatek, last year's French Open champion, needed just over an hour to brush aside 172nd-ranked Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-2 in hot sunshine at Ariake Tennis Park.

The 19,900-seat venue, home to 11 outdoor courts and the showpiece Ariake Coliseum court, was almost empty, with fans barred from all but a handful of Olympic sites in Tokyo because of strict Covid-19 rules.

Sixth-seed Swiatek, in the same quarter of the draw as Japanese star Naomi Osaka, will play Spain's Paula Badosa or Kristina Mladenovic for a place in the last 16.

"It was very hot as everybody is saying," said Swiatek, whose father Tomasz competed in rowing at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

"Even though I've practised here for a few days already, a match is totally different because the stress comes in and the conditions are different, you feel everything twice as much.

"I'm pretty happy that I'm into the second round. Not only was the humidity and temperature hard, but also the sun.

" Last month's beaten Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova inflicted a crushing 6-0, 6-1 defeat on Italy's Sara Errani, the 2012 French Open runner-up.

Osaka was originally scheduled to kick off the tournament against China's Zheng Saisai, but her match was pushed back 24 hours after she was chosen to light the Olympic cauldron in Friday's opening ceremony.

"Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honour I will ever have in my life," Osaka wrote on social media.

The four-time Grand Slam champion will return to court following an eight-week break after she abandoned her French Open campaign for mental health reasons and then skipped Wimbledon.

World number one Djokovic is the undisputed favourite for the men's title as he closes in on a Calendar Golden Grand Slam.

The Serb will face Bolivia's Hugo Dellien in the opening round of an event missing half the men's top 10 players, including 2008 Olympic champion Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Djokovic, a 2008 bronze medallist, is hoping to emulate Steffi Graf's 1988 feat of winning the Golden Slam after already snapping up the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.