Tokyo Olympics: Naomi Osaka wins opening tennis match, feeling ‘refreshed, happy again’

Naomi Osaka is back playing tennis, actually winning and furthermore conversing with the media once more.

The Japanese superstar who lit the Olympic cauldron crushed 52nd-positioned Zheng Saisai of China 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday at the Tokyo Games in her first match in almost two months.

Osaka hadn’t played since she pulled out from the French Open in May to take a psychological health break, uncovering that she has managed despondency. She then, at that point passed on Wimbledon.

Osaka stopped to chat with journalists after Sunday’s match, having said in Paris that she experiences “huge waves of anxiety” prior to meeting with the media and that she would skip news conferences.

“More than anything else, I’m just focused on playing tennis,” Osaka said. “The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, so I feel like the break that I took was very needed. I feel definitely a little bit refreshed, and I’m happy again.”

She added that she was “happy” that journalists were posing her inquiries, then said: “I feel a little bit out of my body right now.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my body; I just felt really nervous,” Osaka said. “I haven’t played since France, so there were definitely some things that I did a bit wrong, but I think I can improve in the matches that I continue playing.”

The second-positioned Osaka was sharp from the beginning, serving a pro down the T on the initial mark of the match and hustling out to a 5-0 lead.

Wearing a bright red dress and a red visor and with her hair styled in red-and-white braids to match with the colors of the Japanese flag stitched onto the left half of her chest, Osaka served six pros taking all things together and created 25 victors to Zheng’s 10.

Osaka’s match was initially scheduled to open the competition Saturday yet then, at that point was pushed back a day prior to her featuring job in Friday’s opening ceremony.

“I feel very, very proud,” Osaka said, uncovering that Olympic coordinators requested that she handle the cauldron honors back in March.

“When I lit the flame, I was super honored,” she added. “I think that’s a position that you dream about and not anyone can do it. So, for me, when they asked me if I wanted to, I was very surprised but very honored. And I’m just very happy to be here and very happy to play — especially in Tokyo.”

Osaka will next face 50th-positioned Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.

At best for the host country, 2016 bronze medalist Kei Nishikori beat fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4.

For other top players in the tennis tournament at the Tokyo Games, it wasn’t so direct.

Highest level Ashleigh Barty was resentful about 48th-positioned Spanish rival Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 6-3, and double cross shielding gold medalist Andy Murray pulled out from singles in light of a right quad strain.

Both actually stay in the doubles competition.

Warmth and moistness were issues once more, with the temperature ascending to 91 degrees and the sun heating the hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park.

Additionally progressing was Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, No. 3 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, No. 4 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, No. 7 Garbine Muguruza of Spain and No. 10 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

Carla Suarez Navarro, the Spaniard who intends to retire this year, beat Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-4, 6-1 for her first triumph since recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Camila Giorgi of Italy eliminated Jennifer Brady, the American who was the current year’s Australian Open finalist, 6-3, 6-2.

Among the men advancing were third-cultivated Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, No. 4 Alexander Zverev of Germany, No. 7 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, No. 8 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 12 Karen Khachanov of ROC and Max Purcell of Australia – who took Murray’s spot in the draw and defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6 (2).

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