‘I’m here for a good time,’ says Naomi Osaka after easing into third round at Tokyo Olympics
Naomi Osaka continued her pursuit of a historic gold medal by easing into the third round of the Olympic singles competition at the Ariake Tennis Park.
The Japanese star won her first match in eight weeks against Zheng Saisai on Sunday, saying she felt refreshed and happy after stepping away from the court for mental health reasons.
There were a few understandable signs of rust but Osaka, who is hoping to follow up her starring role at the opening ceremony with a first gold medal for Japan in tennis, was very sharp in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Swiss Wimbledon quarter-finalist Viktorija Golubic on Monday and took to Twitter to say “I’m here for a good time”.
I’m here for a good time. pic.twitter.com/P10GyUAJt5
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) July 26, 2021
The 23-year-old, who has only lost one of her last 24 matches on hard courts, said: “It would mean a lot to win gold here but I know it’s a process. I know these are the best players in the world and, honestly, I haven’t played in a while, so I’m trying to take it one notch at a time.
“All in all, I’m just really happy to be here. I haven’t been in Tokyo for a couple of years.”
Osaka did not play a match between the first round of the French Open in May and Sunday’s victory but she has shown before she can find her best tennis straight off the bat, going unbeaten between February 2020 and March this year while playing just four tournaments.
“I put this pressure on myself to do well because I know that I don’t play that many tournaments and I feel like I watched these players playing the tournaments while I was on my break so I just really, really want to do well,” she said.
“I feel like as long as I work hard, relatively keep my head down, then good things will happen. For me, it’s dream to be here, to play the Olympics. This is my first one, so I’m just trying to cherish this experience.”
On her performance against Golubic, Osaka said: “I was a bit more nervous before the match. I felt a lot of butterflies. But I think, as I started playing and feeling more comfortable, I knew that no matter what it would be a great match. I feel like I played better today, I think my movement was better.”
It was a good day for the big names, with Garbine Muguruza beating Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-0, French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova seeing off Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 6-4 and Maria Sakkari racing past Nina Stojanovic 6-1, 6-2.
And Murray vs Cameron Norrie, Rafael Nadal vs Borna Coric: Projected start times, TV and streaming info
What time will Andy Murray take on Cam Norrie? What about Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios’ matches?
Emma Raducanu vs Victoria Azarenka: What time are the big matches in Cincy
All you need to know ahead of the Emma Raducanu-Victoria Azarenka, Iga Swiatek-Sloane Stephens matches.
Daniil Medvedev overcomes ‘tricky’ opener while ‘relaxed’ Carlos Alcaraz ‘grows with the pressure’
Solid wins for Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz.
WATCH: ‘Worn out’ Nick Kyrgios and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina conjure up epic rally
Nick Kyrgios and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina produce some magic in Cincy.
‘Calm’ Emma Raducanu sees off Serena Williams: ‘It was a true honour to share the court with her’
Emma Raducanu just too good for “legend” Serena Williams in Cincinnati.
Naomi Osaka’s nightmare run continues: How big a setback is the Cincy defeat ahead of the US Open?
Naomi Osaka’s latest defeat a big blow ahead of the US Open.
Rafael Nadal explains how he deals with pressure after Carlos Alcaraz’s frank admission
Rafael Nadal says it is about “playing freely” and “just enjoying every match”.
Emma Raducanu resumes trial with Dmitry Tursunov: ‘We need to see how we compliment each other’
Emma Raducanu and Dmitry Tursunov working together again in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati schedule and streaming details: When are Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, Nick Kyrgios playing?
A couple of big guns open their Western & Southern Open accounts on Tuesday.
Daniil Medvedev ‘would love to see’ Novak Djokovic play at US Open to reignite his rivalry with Rafael Nadal
Daniil Medvedev wants to see Novak Djokovic play at the US Open.