The Olympic Tennis Event produced the biggest shock in the women’s draw on Sunday as World No 1 Ashleigh Barty was stunned in her opening round by Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, while Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka, Karolina Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza were among the early winners of Day 2 at Ariake Tennis Park.
Really disappointing day,. And I was pretty erratic. But I'm really excited for doubles. ... [I still have a chance] to do everyone proud. Ash Barty
Barty struggled for rhythm against Sorribes Tormo on the slow court and the intense heat, and cut a frustrated figure in her 6-4 6-3 loss to 48th-ranked Spaniard, who notched up the biggest of Sorribes Tormo’s career.
“It’s something I’ve been dreaming all my life, being here and, even more, beating a number one,” Sorribes Tormo said. “It’s an amazing feeling. I still can’t believe it.”
It was the major upset of the tournament.
Barty put in an error-strewn performance, making and uncharacteristic 55 unforced errors to the Spaniard’s 13.
“It was a tough day, a disappointing day. I can’t lie about that,” Barty said. “It was just loose.
“I knew I wanted to try and take the match on today and it was going to be a fine line of pushing too hard and not getting stuck into patterns I didn’t want to get stuck in.
“[I was] just too erratic today, I wasn’t able to make enough balls.”
“Really disappointing day but I’m really excited for doubles. … [I still have a chance] to do everyone proud.”
The 25-year-old Australian and winner of a WTA-high 35 matches and 4 titles this season will try to win a medal in the doubles competition with partner Storm Sanders, where they are the No 6 seeds.
They opened their campaign on Saturday, dispatching home hopefuls Nao Hibino & Makoto Ninomiya, 6-1 6-2, to reach the second round where they face Chinese pairing Xu YiFan & Yang Zhaoxuan.
Sorribes Tormo, 24, was crafty against Barty, strategically hitting high-hopping shots to Barty’s backhand.
Barty’s forehand was misfiring, and despite saving 2 set points with backhand winners that caught the line, the Australian dropped the first set, something that did not happen once in the 7 matches she played at the All England Club on her way to the Wimbledon title.
The second set was more of the same and another Barty unforced error gave Sorribes Tormo her 3rd match point, which she converted when the top seed pushed her backhand into the net.
“It was incredible I don’t know what to say… I still have goosebumps. It’s amazing,” said Sorribes Tormo.
“It’s the best victory in my career, for sure, because of the place, for who she is, because of what the Olympics means to me and because of playing for Spain.”
The Spaniard will next face Fiona Ferro from France, who beat Anastasija Sevastova from Latvia, 2-6 6-4 6-2, in the second round.
By beating Barty, Sorribes Tormo ripped a gaping hole in the draw, where Osaka, the No 2 seed, and 3rd-seeded Aryna Sabalenka are now the favourites.
Having lit the Olympic Cauldron to mark the start of Tokyo 2020 on Friday night, Osaka blazed through the first Olympic match of her career on Sunday, beating China’s Zheng Saisai, 6-1 6-4.
The reigning Australian and US Open champion was making her first competitive appearance on court in almost 2 months, but played as if she had never been away, racing out to a 5-0 lead before easing to victory in an hour, 27 minutes.
“I feel like more than anything I’m just focused on playing tennis,” said Osaka, who is the poster athlete of the Tokyo Games. “Playing the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.
“I feel like the break that I took was very needed, but I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and happy again.”
Osaka took to Centre Court moments after Sorribes Tormo stunned Barty, a timely reminder that ranking and reputation counts for little on such a unique stage as the Olympic Games.
The 23-year-old is now the top-ranked player in the draw and she opened with 3 aces and played with measure and control throughout the first set before introducing more power in the second.
Osaka wrapped up the match with 17 winners, including 6 aces to her opponent’s 7.
Next up for Osaka is Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic, the first player to post a win at Tokyo 2020 after dispatching Colombia’s Maria Camila Osorio Serrano in under an hour on Saturday.
Day 2 saw the top 5 seeds in action, amongst whom Pliskova, seeded 5, who was in a hurry to end Alizé Cornet’s hopes, 6-1 6-3.
The 29-year-old from the Czech Republic was masterful, opening her campaign in 63 minutes and winning 24 of 30 points on her serve.
Next up for Pliskova is Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, claimed her first singles victory since her recovery from cancer as she beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, 6-4 6-1.
No 3 Aryna Sabalenka was almost as swift, sending home Poland’s Magda Linette, 6-1 6-2, in 69 minutes.
Sabalenka was sharp as she won 25 of her 27 service points and broke Linette once in each set.
The Belarusian will play the winner between Caroline Garcia and Donna Vekic in the second round.
Spain’s Muguruza, the 7th seed, got past Veronika Kudermetova representing the Russian Olympic Committee, 7-5 7-5, to meet Qiang Wang in round 2 after the Chinese scored a 6-4 6-3 win over Veronica Cepede Royg from Paraguay.
America’s best hope for a singles medal, No 11 seed Jennifer Brady, fell at the first hurdle to Italy’s Camila Giorgi, 6-3 6-2.
Giorgi broke the Australian Open finalist 3 times on her way to a second-round match against the winner between Jelena Ostapenko and Elena Vesnina.
In other action, Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska advanced when Yulia Putintseva retired after losing the first set 7-6(4) but leading 3-1 in the second.
Temperatures again reached 32 degrees in Tokyo on Sunday, leading the ITF to activate its extreme weather policy.
Players were given a 10-minute break between the second and third set once the reading went above 30.1C, with change of ends and set breaks also extended by an extra 30 seconds.