Iga Swiatek coasted through to the quarter-finals of the Ostrava Open after defeating Yulia Putintseva as Paula Badosa faltered against Anett Kontaveit.

Favourite Swiatek provided an astute performance to ease past Putintseva 6-4 6-4 to secure a potential quarter-final tie with Elena Rybakina.

Petra Kvitova, who is second seed in Croatia, did not enjoy as comfortable a victory but battled past Anastasia Potapova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 to confirm her last-eight berth.

The ninth ranked Badosa, however, was not as fortunate as she was dumped out by Kontaveit, who cruised to a 6-3 6-4 win over the world number 27 in just over an hour.

Jelena Ostapenko set up a last-16 clash with fourth seed Maria Sakkari as she defeated Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-0, while Alison Riske recovered from a second-set setback to defeat Fiona Ferro 6-4 1-6 6-4.

Riske will now meet Jil Teichmann, who shocked former world number one Angelique Kerber, and whoever wins will be rewarded with a tie against world number 10 Kvitova.

Naomi Osaka is taking things "one notch at a time" at Tokyo 2020 after another convincing performance in round two on Monday.

With Ash Barty having suffered a shock exit a day prior, Osaka is now the favourite for glory on home court and with Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek among the round-two casualties that status is sure to only be enhanced.

There was better news for Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova at the Ariake Tennis Park, though, in a women's draw stacked with top-tier talent.

OSAKA NOT GETTING AHEAD OF HERSELF

Back after a self-imposed two-month hiatus, defending US and Australian champion Osaka has not missed a beat and was too good for Viktorija Golubic in a 6-3 6-2 victory.

Osaka won 24 of 26 service points in the first set and 37 of 45 in the second, facing break point only once in a one-sided affair.

"It would mean a lot to win gold here, but I know it's a process," she said. "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."

Svitolina was not as comfortable with the fourth seed rebounding from losing the opening set to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-3 6-4. Maria Sakkari (14) awaits in the next round.

Carla Suarez Navarro earned her first win since recovering from cancer in round one and battled valiantly against Karolina Pliskova (5) before eventually losing in three sets.

Garbine Muguruza (7), Barbora Krejcikova (8) and Belinda Bencic all coasted through in straight sets, as did Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (13) and Elena Rybakina (15).

TEARS FOR IGA 

Swiatek, whose father was an Olympic rower, would have had strong designs on a deep run at the Games but was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7-4) by Paula Badosa.

The Pole was left in tears after the defeat, and was still sobbing at her chair several minutes after the end of the match.

Sabalenka also bit the dust, going down in three sets to Donna Vekic, while Petra Kvitova lost the deciding set of her tie with Alison Van Uytvanck 6-0 to bow out with a whimper.

Iga Swiatek says adjusting to the tricky Tokyo conditions will be key to winning gold after she came through her Olympics opener on Saturday.

The Polish athlete was the highest-ranked seed in action in the women's singles in the Japanese capital and comfortably dispatched of Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2.

World number one Ash Barty gets her individual campaign underway on Sunday but the Wimbledon champion was a doubles victor on the first day of action on the tennis courts.

SWIATEK OUT TO ADJUST

Swiatek was on court for a little over an hour, breaking serve six times and firing down 13 winners to Barthel's eight.

The tough hot and humid conditions were a big talking point at Ariake Tennis Centre on Saturday, and Swiatek – whose father represented Poland as a rower at the 1988 Olympics – had her say.

"I'm pretty happy that I'm into the second round and for sure not only the temperature was hard, but also the sun because on one side it was pretty hard to serve," she said. 

"But we had to adjust quickly and change our toss, so that was hard, but you know I would say the players who can adjust quicker are going to be the best ones here."

KREJCIKOVA BENEFITS FROM DIYAS RETIREMENT

Eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova was 5-2 up against Zarina Diyas before her opponent had to withdraw with an ankle problem.

The Czech now meets Leylah Annie Fernandez in the second round. Fellow seeds Belinda Bencic (9), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (13), Maria Sakkari (14) and Elena Rybakina (15) all made it through round one.

But Kiki Bertens, the 16th seed, was sent packing 6-4 3-6 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova.

BARTY REVELS IN TEAMING UP WITH CHILDHOOD FRIEND

Barty is fresh off her triumph at SW19 earlier this month, and the amiable Aussie started her Olympics adventure alongside long-time friend Storm Sanders.

The sixth feeds hammered home pair Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-1 6-2.

"Playing with my childhood friend in what is a dream for both of us is really cool. And to be here in some of the most unique circumstances I think ever for an Olympic Games, it's really awesome for us," Barty said.

"We're very grateful and thankful that we're able to be here to play and to experience what is really cool Games."

Nina Christen of Switzerland finished 16th in the 10-metre air rifle at the Rio Olympics, but she became a footnote to history five years later as the first athlete to secure a medal at Tokyo 2020.

The 27-year-old locked up the bronze medal several minutes before China's Yang Qian beat Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee to take gold in the first medal event of the Games.

As soon as she was eliminated from contention for the final two, Christen flashed a smile and waved, knowing she had at least won a spot on the podium this time – no small feat on this stage.

After the first medal ceremony of the Tokyo Games, she spoke about the pressure as the competition entered the final rounds.

"You just try to not reach your head out for the medal before you have the medal," Christen said. "That is the worst thing you could do. Having in your mind, 'Oh I could win a medal, or I could be eighth which would be a failure'.

"So you just try not to think about both of them, you just try and think about what your job is like breathing, holding, aiming, balance, triggering, and then follow through.

"It helps to not think about what is behind you and obviously there are a lot of cameras and a lot of people. And it would be even more if COVID would not have hit. So yeah that is the thing you have to do, otherwise you would just crack."

 

Sixth seed Swiatek rolls in tennis opener

Two seeded players enjoyed easy victories in the women's singles draw as play began at the Ariake Tennis Park.

Sixth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, the 2020 French Open champion, cruised past Germany's Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2 to open her first Olympics.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 11th seed representing the Russian Olympic Committee, had an even easier time in a 6-0 6-1 rout of Italy's Sara Errani.

Pavlyuchenkova will face Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam, who upset Great Britain's Heather Watson 7-6 6-3 in another early match.

In doubles, there was an eye-catching result for Britain's Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury, who took out French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, scoring a 6-3 6-2 victory.

 

Men's gymnastics gets under way

Nikita Nagornyy turned in the strongest showing in the opening group as men's gymnastics got under way.

Nagornyy, who won the all-around at the 2019 World Championships and was part of Russia's silver medal-winning team at Rio 2016, posted an 87.897 to lead subdivision one, which included gymnasts from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), China, Ukraine and Spain along with individuals from other nations.

But his showing was not enough to put the Russians on top, as China earned the top score in the group with a 262.061 to the ROC's 261.945. The top eight ranked teams qualify for the team final, with two subdivisions still to compete Saturday.

"I don't think our team was really good today, but we made our best effort," Nagronyy said. "We have a lot to do."

 

Brazilians start strongly on the beach

Brazil's two returning beach volleyball medallists are off to a strong start five years later.

Alison Cerutti won gold in Rio and is teamed with new partner Alvaro Morais Filho for Tokyo. They won their opening match 2-0 against Argentina's Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Amado Azaad.

On the women's side, Rio silver medallist Agatha Bednarczuk, also with a new partner in Eduarda Santos Lisboa, won by the same score against Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra of Argentina.

While she was happy to advance, Agatha found the difference between Rio's raucous crowds and Tokyo's COVID-driven quiet jarring.

"It's so different. In Brazil we have the biggest support there. Many, many people cheering for us, and here, it's silence," she said.

"Here we need to put our emotion (aside) because we don't receive the emotion from the people. For me, this is very important because I like to play with emotions."

Second seed Elina Svitolina crashed out of the Viking International in Eastbourne at the last-16 stage on Wednesday with a straight sets defeat to Elena Rybakina.

The world number five lost 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to 21st-ranked Rybakina, whose reward is a meeting with Coco Gauff's conqueror Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada also lost in straight sets, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia beating her 6-3 6-3.

And it was the same story for fourth seed Iga Swiatek, though she at least took a set as she was beaten by Daria Kasatkina.

It took an impressive rally from Russia's Kasatkina to bounce back from losing the first en route to a 4-6 6-0 6-1 success.

She will now face Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Ons Jabeur 5-7 6-4 6-3.

In fact, top seed Aryna Sabalenka was the only seed to avoid a surprise exit on Wednesday as she cruised through.

The Belarussian, ranked fourth in the world, beat Alison Riske 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour to set up a clash with Camila Giorgi.

Giorgi had earlier followed up a win over defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the last round by beating Shelby Rogers 6-3 4-6 6-2.

There was no such string of shocks at Wednesday's other WTA event, the Bad Homburg Open in Germany, though first and second seeds Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka needed three sets to progress.

Kvitova lost a second-set tie-break as she beat Ann Li 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 to reach the quarters, while Azarenka defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

Angelique Kerber, the fourth seed, progressed more smoothly, earning a comfortable 6-0 6-2 win over Russia's Anna Blinkova.

And Nadia Podoroska saw off the challenge of Patricia Maria Tig, winning 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-4.

Coco Gauff lost the first set in 20 minutes but roared back to stun seventh seed Elise Mertens – as Iga Swiatek also staged a comeback at the Viking International in Eastbourne.

Playing late in the day, Gauff was picked apart by Mertens to begin with, and also trailed by a break in the second set, but the 17-year-old American rising star pulled off a 0-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 first-round win.

Seeds Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu and Swiatek all came through three-set matches on a busy day, but Karolina Pliskova was not so fortunate in her opener.

Winner of the grass-court event in 2017 and 2019, Pliskova arrived as the defending champion after last year's edition was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, her hopes of a repeat triumph came to an early end, beaten in three sets by qualifier Camila Giorgi.

The fifth seed was in charge initially against an opponent she had prevailed against in five of their six previous meetings, yet Giorgi produced an impressive response having fallen behind – aided by a strong service performance – to win 2-6 6-2 6-2.

Svitolina, the second seed, had lost in her previous two appearances in the main draw, and it appeared history could be repeated when Paula Badosa claimed the opening set against her.

Yet the second seed recovered to level, then dominated the tie-break in the decider to triumph 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-1) and set up a second-round meeting with Elena Rybakina, who edged out wildcard Harriet Dart in three sets.

Andreescu, meanwhile, recorded her maiden win on grass in the main draw of a WTA tournament. The Canadian was made to work for it by Christina McHale, eventually coming out on top by a 6-4 2-6 6-2 scoreline.

Swiatek eventually saw off the challenge of Heather Watson after two hours and 42 minutes on court, a 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 triumph making sure of a place in the last 16. Watson led 4-1 and 40-0 in the decider but could not finish off last year's French Open champion.

This year's Roland Garros runner-up, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, meanwhile, was beaten 6-1 6-3 by Jelena Ostapenko.

At the Bad Homburg Open, second seed Victoria Azarenka defeated fellow Belarusian Yuliya Hatouka 7-5 6-0 to reach the last 16.

Jessica Pegula bowed out, though, as the American – seeded third – went down in a three-set tussle against Katerina Siniakova.

Barbora Krejcikova became the first woman for 21 years to win both singles and doubles titles at the same French Open as the Czech completed her staggering fortnight in Paris.

"We will have a little glass of champagne," said Krejcikova, the breakout star of Roland Garros this year, after she and Katerina Siniakova fended off Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Sunday's doubles final.

A 6-4 6-2 victory for the Czech duo gave them a third women's grand slam title as a pair, and a second in Paris after their 2018 triumph.

Krejcikova was already established as a world-class doubles player, but it has been as a singles player that she has emerged in recent times, having only entered the WTA top 100 rankings for the first time last October.

A three-set victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Saturday's singles final gave the world number 33 a first major title without a team-mate at her side.

The doubles triumph means the French Open women's title double has been achieved for the first time since Mary Pierce cleaned up in 2000, when the Frenchwoman beat Conchita Martinez in singles and paired up with Martina Hingis to beat Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual.

The 25-year-old Krejcikova becomes just the seventh woman to clinch the double, after Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Virginia Ruzici, Martina Navratilova and Pierce.

Pierce wrote on Twitter: "Well done @BKrejcikova! Welcome to a very special club."

Krejcikova said she had not slept well after her singles triumph, and she felt not only tired but complained of "having some pains in my leg" after the doubles.

It has been a strenuous fortnight, and she was determined to finally unwind on Sunday evening.

"I think we going to have a dinner together this evening. We will have a little glass of champagne," she said.

"I already said I don't really drink but I think it's a time to actually celebrate it. I think we going to really enjoy ourselves.

"The rest, I just want to go back home. I just really have to relax. I have to spend some time with my family. After that, just start to work again."

Krejcikova will be a marked player at Wimbledon after her rapid rise in the rankings was capped by the slam success.

"I hope I'm going to have some chances on the grass, but I don't really know because I'm not that experienced on it," she said. "We will see.

"I just know from now on I can really enjoy because I have pretty much achieved everything I really wanted.

"Now I can just improve, that's the only thing I can do, just improving. All the guys and the ladies are doing. That's what I think."

Iga Swiatek blamed a gruelling recent schedule after her French Open defence ended in a shock quarter-final defeat to Maria Sakkari.

The Pole came into Wednesday's last eight match having won her last 22 sets at Roland Garros, but lost 6-4 6-4 to the competition's 17th seed.

Swiatek headed to Paris full of confidence after winning on clay in Rome two weeks prior, and she had also helped Bethanie Mattek-Sands into the semi-finals of this year's doubles.

However, the world number nine believes she may have paid the price for all that tennis in the form of a lacklustre display against Sakkari.

She said: "Well, obviously I didn't play my best tennis. That's for sure. But Maria did a good job with playing at my forehand, which wasn't working pretty well today.

"It's good for her that she saw that. She picked good tactics, for sure. I struggled with picking the right place where to play. I couldn't play some shots that usually give me points.

"Yeah, my balls weren't, like, really deep and heavy. Basically that's my biggest weapon, so it was really hard to play without that.

"Also, you know, I think, like, past couple weeks hit me kind of yesterday. I just didn't have good days, I couldn't do like physical recovery well because I was stressed. Days like that happen, and it's normal."

Swiatek left the court for treatment on her thigh after losing the first set, but she refused to blame that issue for her defeat.

She added: "Right now I know it's nothing serious. When I was on court, I felt it totally differently. As I said, I couldn't even sleep well yesterday. I slept like a few hours.

"I think I was feeling everything twice as much as I should. It was hard to rationally just see what's going on. I made the decision to tape it just to feel sure [to give] me, like, a little bit more confidence when I was moving.

"Still my reaction was bad. I didn't play well, like, tactically and also technically. I was on my heels, so it's hard to make something of that kind of game."

Sakkari, meanwhile, revealed that her commitment to simply enjoying Wednesday's match helped her secure a maiden Grand Slam semi-final berth.

She said: "I'm speechless - it is a dream come true. It is a very nice feeling, I couldn't have done it without my team and their support so I want to thank them.

"We still have a long way to go of course [if we want to win the tournament] but we made a huge step.

"I'm not going to tell you the game plan of course because we will play again [against Swiatek] for sure! So I'm not gonna say our little secrets!

"But I really enjoyed it. Before coming into the match I just sat down and spoke to myself and said it is a very important match but just enjoy it - playing at one of the best stadiums in the world. So I have enjoyed it."

Greece boasts two semi-finalists in this year's French Open after Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed to the last four of the men's draw.

And Sakkari believes the sport may even have overtaken football and basketball in terms of popularity back in her homeland.

She continued: "Now it's probably the biggest sport these days. Football is over. Basketball is over. So tennis is in the spotlight.

"Yeah, with Stefanos, I mean, we're very close. We know each other since a very young age. I mean, I see him every day here. We're actually having dinner with our teams next to each other every night.

"I'm very, very happy for him and his family. It's very exciting times for Greek tennis."

Iga Swiatek saw the defence of her French Open title ended by a rampant Maria Sakkari in Paris.

Number 17 seed Sakkari was playing in her first grand slam quarter-final but showed no signs of nerves as she closed out a 6-4 6-4 victory against last year's champion in one hour and 35 minutes.

Sakkari will play unseeded Barbora Krejcikova in what will be a first major semi-final appearance for both players.

It was a scrappy start to the contest with both players struggling to establish a rhythm on serve.

Early breaks were exchanged before Sakkari had to save four break points in her next game to avoid another and Swiatek then fended off three in the next.

Sakkari looked a different player from then on as she seized control. At 4-4, a powerful forehand winner gave her two break points and she claimed the first of them.

After a first opportunity to move ahead was not taken as she served for the set, two big serves saved a break point and gave her another chance that was taken with a fine backhand, prompting huge emotion from the Greek.

Sakkari had the momentum and went 2-0 up in the second set, at which point Swiatek called for a medical timeout that resulted in a 10-minute delay.

After emerging with strapping on her right thigh, Swiatek looked more confident on her return, holding confidently before saving two break points in her next service game to remain in contention.

But Sakkari was undeterred, serving superbly and not allowing a single break-point opportunity in the second set, clinching a famous triumph that brought tears to her eyes with her third match point.

Data Slam: Swiatek streak ends

Having not dropped a set in any round of her successful campaign last year or in her four victories in 2021, Swiatek saw her streak of winning 22 consecutive sets in Paris abruptly halted. 

Still just 20, Swiatek will have many more opportunities but this result will have come as a shock to the system.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Sakkari – 26/24
Swiatek – 17/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Sakkari – 5/2
Swiatek – 0/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Sakkari – 3/8
Swiatek – 1/6

Andy Murray could hold the key to Iga Swiatek converting her clay-court mastery to the grass of Wimbledon.

Reigning French Open champion Swiatek has powered through to the quarter-finals this year at Roland Garros, and the 20-year-old looks the player to beat.

But soon attentions will switch from the clay in Paris to the grass of London, and Swiatek feels she could do with some pointers.

As Swiatek wrapped up a straight-sets win over Marta Kostyuk on Monday in Paris, Murray tweeted, "Love watching @iga_swiatek", followed by a heart emoji.

Swiatek responded: "Thank you Sir Andy! Are you by any chance up for a practice? I really need to improve my skills on grass."

Andy Roddick is also a fan of the 20-year-old Polish player, with the former US Open winner responding to Murray's initial tweet by saying: "Agreed. She is awesome."

Murray has been champion twice at Wimbledon, beating Novak Djokovic in 2013 and Milos Raonic in 2016.

It remains to be seen how Swiatek gets on when she heads to the All England Club, having made only one previous appearance there in the women's singles, losing in the first round to Viktorija Golubic two years ago.

She can point to some proven prowess, however, having been girls' champion in 2018.

Swiatek has a French Open campaign to complete before she can seriously begin to think about the grass, with a last-eight clash against Maria Sakkari coming up on Wednesday.

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