Tennis

Osaka ‘refreshed’ after 8-week break, Barty crashes out

Japan's Naomi Osaka won in straight sets on her highly anticipated return to the court at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday, while world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty crashed out in the first round.

Osaka, 23, defeated China's Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-4 and said she felt "refreshed" after taking an eight-week break for mental health reasons.

"I felt really nervous being in Japan and playing here for the first time in maybe two years, and for it to be my first Olympics," said Osaka, who was the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron.

"It was definitely really nerve-racking. But I am glad I was able to win."

The four-time Major winner had not played since May, when she walked out of Roland Garros saying that media duties were harming her mental health.

Osaka, who will play Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic in the last 32, is now the clear favourite for gold after Barty, the reigning Wimbledon champion, dropped serve twice in each set and made 55 unforced errors in a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo. - AFP

Tennis