Tokyo Olympics Recap: Biles put 'mental health first' with withdrawal, Osaka suffers shock defeat

By Sports Desk July 27, 2021

Simone Biles said she had put her "mental health first" after missing out on adding a fifth Olympic gold medal to her collection following an early withdrawal from the women’s team final.

The 24-year-old gymnastics icon revealed she was “dealing with things internally” after a disappointing performance on the vault.

Biles posted the lowest score of the first rotation on Tuesday as she landed awkwardly after failing to execute an Amanar, while only completing a Yurchenko 1.5 twist.

After she subsequently withdrew, Team USA had to settle for a silver medal behind the Russian Olympic Committee while Great Britain completed the podium.

Biles admitted that she was "fighting demons", explaining: "I just don't trust myself as much as I used to. I don't know if it's age. I'm a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I'm also not having as much fun."

She added: "I say, 'put mental health first'. Because if you don't, you won't enjoy sport and won't succeed as much as you want to.

"So it's okay sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself, because it shows how strong a competitor and person that you really are, rather than just battling through it."


OSAKA STUNNED

The big names continue to tumble in the women’s singles tennis event, with second seed Naomi Osaka defeated in straight sets.

The home favourite, who lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday, was denied a place in the quarter-finals after being ousted 6-1 6-4 by world number 42 Marketa Vondrousova.

This event marked Osaka’s first competitive tennis in two months since her early withdrawal from the French Open at the end of May, citing mental health issues.

The world number two is the latest of the big names to fall at the Tokyo Games, with top seed Ash Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka also suffering early exits.

"Of course, it's one of the biggest wins of my career," Vondrousova said. "Naomi is a great player, so I knew it would be a tough match. 

“I'm very happy with my play. I played amazingly in the first set, and then the second set was really tough. I'm just happy to be through."

 


ARGENTINA RECOVER TO SEE OFF SPRINGBOKS

Argentina recovered from a dreadful start to beat South Africa and book their place in the rugby seven semi-finals.

Trailing 7-0 after just under two minutes, the Pumas were then reduced to six men when Gaston Revol - who was reduced to tears - was shown a straight red card.

Nevertheless, they demonstrated tremendous resilience and character before eventually running out 19-14 winners.

Argentina will play Fiji in the last four after the reigning Olympic champions swept Australia aside 19-0.

Great Britain stormed back from 21-0 down to beat the USA, scoring four tries to secure a dramatic 26-21 victory.

Team GB will play New Zealand, who eased to a 21-10 success over Canada.

Related items

  • Paolini overcomes Riske to win first WTA singles title in Portoroz Paolini overcomes Riske to win first WTA singles title in Portoroz

    Jasmine Paolini battled to a straight-sets victory over Alison Riske in Sunday's Portoroz final to win her maiden WTA singles title.

    World number 87 Paolini had already eliminated three seeded players to reach her first final and she recovered from a slow start to see off another 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

    Third seed Riske led 5-2 in the first set after breaking her opponent's serve three times in the opening seven games, but Paolini dug deep and took four games on the spin.

    The Italian used that momentum in the tie-break to open up a 5-2 advantage before getting over the line with her second set point.

    After a gruelling 63-minute opening set, Paolini found the second a more straightforward affair as she broke for 3-2 and reeled off the remaining games, the last of those points coming via an error-forcing forehand.

    Paolini, who won two-thirds of her second-service points and converted six of her 10 break points, is glad her hard work has paid off with a first singles success at the age of 25.

    "It's been an amazing week here in Portoroz," she said in her on-court interview. "I feel just very happy, it's a big achievement for me, to win my first title. It's special to do it on the hard court.

    "It wasn't easy to go through to the final. I'm proud of myself because I never gave up.

    "I'm working really hard in the past couple of months. I understood more about my game, I think. I just want to keep this level for all the season that is almost finished, and to stay strong and keep this level."

  • Tauson triumphs in Luxembourg as Ostapenko falls at final hurdle Tauson triumphs in Luxembourg as Ostapenko falls at final hurdle

    Teenager Clara Tauson defeated Jelena Ostapenko to claim her second WTA Tour title of the year at the Luxembourg Open. 

    Tauson, the last player to defeat US Open champion Emma Raducanu, had already knocked out Olympic silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova en route to the final before taking another big scalp in Sunday's showdown. 

    The defending champion from 2019, Ostapenko could not stop the 18-year-old Dane prevailing 6-3 4-6 6-4. 

    Tauson, who defeated Raducanu to win a Challenger event in Chicago prior to the final grand slam of the year in New York, where she was beaten by Ash Barty, struck eight aces and made just one double fault throughout the match. 

    Two breaks of serve saw her take the first set in just 30 minutes, though Ostapenko rallied in the second to force a decider. 

    However, the world number 70 had too much for her rival with the trophy on the line, immediately coming from a break down to haul herself level before breaking to take the match at the second opportunity. 

    Ostapenko was hunting a fifth career title, but the 2017 French Open champion has made it to just one other final in 2021, triumphing at Eastbourne prior to Wimbledon. 

  • Teenager Tauson finds form that saw off Raducanu to reach Luxembourg final Teenager Tauson finds form that saw off Raducanu to reach Luxembourg final

    Danish teenager Clara Tauson set up a Luxembourg Open final showdown with Jelena Ostapenko, showing off the prowess that saw her beat Emma Raducanu in Chicago prior to the US Open.

    Raducanu recovered from that setback in the final of August's Challenger tournament in the Windy City, charging to a shock Flushing Meadows triumph, but fellow 18-year-old Tauson awaits her big breakthrough at the majors.

    Tauson took down a former French Open runner-up and current Olympic silver medallist in reaching the Luxembourg final, beating Marketa Vondrousova in three sets, and now must overcome a player who has been champion at Roland Garros in Ostapenko.

    She prised the vital break of serve in the ninth game of the decider against Vondrousova, upping the power in her shots, before serving out for a 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory.

    Tauson will be going for a second title of the year, having won the Lyon Open in March.

    Defending champion Ostapenko raced to a 6-1 5-1 lead over Liudmila Samsonova but then began to misfire and had to scramble from the brink of being taken to a third set.

    Ostapenko eventually prevailed 6-1 7-6 (7-4), having trailed 4-1 in the tie-break, and she will attempt to scoop a fifth WTA title on Sunday. Her most recent came at Eastbourne in the week before Wimbledon.

    At the WTA tournament in the Slovenian town of Portoroz, Sunday's final will feature American Alison Riske and Italy's Jasmine Paolini.

    Riske denied Slovenian Kaja Juvan a place in a home final, earning a 6-0 6-4 win in their semi-final, while Paolini sprang a shock by beating Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 1-6 6-3 6-4.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.