Tokyo Olympics: Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic move closer to Games gold
Both Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are crusing ahead in style.
Both tennis superstars produced convincing victories on Monday to reach the last 16 of their respective categories at Ariake Tennis Park.
Osaka crushed the 49th-ranked Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2, while Djokovic sent the 48th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany packing 6-4, 6-3.
Despite this being her first tournament back from a two-month mental health break, Osaka's strong start is hardly a surprise considering that the Olympic tournament is being played on hard courts — the surface on which she has won all four of her Grand Slam titles.
Inspired by Olympic flame honour
Osaka was asked in March to handle the cauldron honors but said she didn't feel pressure about the assignment. "I felt more excitement," Osaka said. "It was like a sense of duty, like something I wanted to accomplish." Two more wins and Osaka will be in line for more honors an Olympic medal.
"Definitely it would mean a lot for me but I know it's a process," Osaka said of her prospects of winning a medal for the host country. "So I'm trying to take it one match at a time. All in all I'm just really happy that I'm here. I haven't been in Tokyo for like a whole year."
This is Osaka's first event since she withdrew from the French Open in May to take a mental health break, revealing that she has dealt with depression. She then sat out Wimbledon.