Naomi Osaka was knocked out of the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday after an unexpected loss in the third round of the Women’s Singles competition to Czech opponent Marketa Vondrousova, marking one of the biggest upsets of the games thus far.
Osaka struggled with her groundstrokes and committed 32 unforced mistakes after good performances in the first two rounds.
As a result, Vondrousova, who is ranked 42nd in the world, defeated Osaka, who is ranked second, in straight sets, 6–1 and 6–4.
“This is one of the biggest matches of my career,” Vondrousova said after her victory. “Naomi is the greatest now. She was also the face of the Olympics, so it was also tough for her to play like this.”
In the opening set, Vondrousova came out strong, breaking Osaka’s serve twice, and subsequently troubling the Japanese superstar with a string of drop shot wins.
It was raining outside on Tuesday, so the stadium’s roof had to be closed, which was a minor change from Osaka’s previous two games.
Osaka departed the arena after the match and declined to talk to the media, according to the Games’ organizers.
After World No. 1 Ash Barty’s first-round elimination and third-ranked Aryna Sabalenka’s second-round exit, Osaka’s exit means the top three ranked women are no longer in medal contention in Tokyo.
Osaka had won 25 of her past 26 matches on hard courts, including major slams at the US Open and Australian Open, and the scenario appeared set for her to take perhaps the most prestigious trophy of them all, especially considering Barty’s early setback.