Tennis in Tokyo may have turned some of us into nocturnal human beings, but if you’re just catching up in the morning, we’ve got you covered on the women’s and men’s side. Young Canadian Leylah Fernandez was the first Canadian to go through while Felix Auger- Aliassime bowed out, and we had some familiar faces show the world what they’ve got.
Iga Swiatek dominates, blows past Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-2
Swiatek wasted no time with her debut in Tokyo, defeating German player Mona Barthel in what was an Iga Swiatek masterclass. The thing about her game is that Swiatek is so quick on the attack. She is able to read her opponent and is not afraid to attempt some difficult shots. Her accuracy allows her to find open spaces and rip a killer forehand, ending the point quickly.
If you’re a fan of Iga Swiatek, then this is no surprise. She will continue to be dominant at the Olympics.
Young Canadian Leylah Fernandez maintains her composure to get past Dayana Yastremska 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
At just 18 years old, the young Canadian is breaking out into the tennis scene. Leylah Annie Fernandez is already building a stellar resume for herself, playing in the Olympics being one of them. One impressive aspect of her game has been how Fernandez has been able to keep her cool when faced with a momentum shift. After taking the first set 6-3, Fernandez started to face some pressure on her serve, getting broken at 4-3 and going on to drop the set. She quickly regained her composure and took care of things in the final set, making sure that Yastremska couldn’t build on her aggressiveness.
Fernandez looks to continue the Canadian representation, and all Canadian sports fans should keep an eye out for her.
Belinda Bencic moves past Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-3
In another solid women’s matchup, we saw the importance of good footwork. Most of the time, Bencic was able to get into a good position to set her feet and provide some good topspin on her shots. She was able to hit some really solid shots. This helped her at the net, where she won 100% of those points, compared to Pegula’s 40%. Bencic was also able to defend well and turn points around into offence.
Belinda Bencic is a former world number 4 who is currently sitting in the WTA top 10. A solid performance against a player who has been having a good year in Pegula is a good sign for Bencic going forward.
Sara Sorribes Tormo defeats Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-3
In what seemed to be a surprise upset for many tennis fans, Sorribes Tormo was able to overcome recent Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. The Spanish player went up 4-1 early in the first set, forcing the world number one to play from behind. Barty was able to push back a little, but ended up dropping the set in 10 games. She struggled with unforced errors throughout the match, putting up 27 in comparison to only five from Sorribes Tormo.
Naomi Osaka shows her strength against Saisai Zheng, dominates 6-1, 6-4
Did you miss her? The Japanese tennis star showed exactly why she is so important to this sport and why tennis needs HER, and not the other way around. What is so impressive about Osaka’s game is her killer forehand. She moves with such aggressiveness and accuracy, and knows exactly how to flick her wrist to get a deadly topspin. Osaka wasted no time on the court after missing two grand slams, dropping only five games to reach the second round. As long as Osaka is finishing points quickly and making her opponents run cross-court, no one is safe from arguably the best player in the world right now.
Novak Djokovic doesn’t miss a beat, defeats Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2
The Wimbledon champion has looked to be at the highest level with a consistency rate that every athlete hopes for. Especially on hard court, Novak looked like the serving superstar he is.
|First Serve||10/18 (56%)|
|Aces on First Serve||4|
|Points Won on First Serve||8/10 (80%)|
|Second Serve||8/8 (100%)|
|Aces on Second Serve||3/3 (100%)|
|Points Won on Second Serve||8/8 (100%)|
The numbers from his serving are pretty cool to see all in one table. There is no doubt that Djokovic will continue to dominate the Olympics as he does the ATP tour. He looks like he’s having a good time anyway.
Daniil Medvedev escapes Alexander Bublik 6-4, 7-6 (8)
Medvedev has risen to be one of the top players in recent years, and was able to defeat a tough opponent in Alexander Bublik. Medvedev is in that category of tennis players whose height gives them a bit of an advantage. He’s able to cover a good amount of distance on the court in less time than a shorter player, which allows him to get to each ball. When returning Bublik’s serve, Medvedev would stand about 5-6 m behind the baseline. On second serves, he’d stand about 4 m back. He really took advantage of Bublik’s second serve, not letting him win more than 13/25 second service points in the entire match.
Although Medvedev won, there are some areas of improvement that he may need to clean up going into his second round match. Although he is able to get to those balls, a lot of times he will swing with too much power and less control. Medvedev had 20 unforced errors, more than his opponent. He also had 17 forced errors and still came out of the match. Tightening his grip and control of his swings will be crucial if he wants continued success.
Felix Auger-Aliassime falls to Max Purcell 6-4, 7-6 (2) after much-anticipated Andy Murray matchup doesn’t go through
The Canadian was set to play against Andy Murray. Hours before, we were notified that Murray was advised by his medical team to withdraw due to a thigh strain. No problem, Max Purcell is set to replace him. However, this was a problem for Felix Auger-Aliassime. The young Canadian only won 12 of his 38 receiving points, often swinging too hard and hitting the ball out of bounds. He was only able to convert one break point, which happened to be in the second set after being down a break. Even though Auger-Aliassime forced a tiebreak, Purcell was just too much for him. Max Purcell performed well at the net, winning 83% of his points there and hitting some big shots.
There’s a lot of tennis to keep up with, but I’ll have you covered with these mini updates throughout the Olympics as more players advance. Follow Unbenched Sports on Twitter and Instagram (@unbenched_) and on Tik Tok (@unbenchedsports) to keep up with our daily Olympic coverage!