Second seed Naomi Osaka of Japan will play China’s Saisai Zheng in the first round of the Olympics women’s singles on Saturday, July 24. Get the live streaming options of this Naomi Osaka v Saisai Zheng match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Naomi Osaka v Saisai Zheng Head to Head
This will be their fourth meeting and Osaka leads 2-1 head to head. Their most recent matchup was at the Australian Open last year, with Osaka winning in straight sets.
Osaka Returns to Action
Driven by the incentive of playing for national pride in front of home crowds, Naomi Osaka will return to action after nearly a two-month break from the sport. The World No. 2 will be back on court for the first time since her withdrawal from the French Open due to mental health issues.
It will be interesting to see how well prepared is the Japanese having not played competitive tennis for nearly two months. But the 23-year-old has been so dominant over the last four years, particularly on hard courts, winning a major each year since 2018, that she may not need a lot of time to shrug off the rust and reach the same levels of intensity.
The fact that Japan is yet to win an Olympic gold in tennis raises expectations from the country’s best prospect, thus putting a bit of pressure on the former No. 1, but Osaka may use it as motivation to bring out her A-game to Tokyo.
Her path to glory won’t be easy though as she could be facing 16th seed Kiki Bertens in the Round of 16 and Iga Swiatek in a potential quarterfinal.
Huge Challenge for Zheng
World No. 52 Sai Sai Zheng will also be playing her first match since her second round exit from the French Open.
The 27-year-old Chinese, who won the silver medal at Youth Olympics in 2010 and the doubles gold in the same edition, had stunned fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round in Rio 2016.
She doesn’t bring great form to Tokyo, but a 6-6 run in her last 12 matches has given her season some respectability after a 0-6 start.
Zheng is a solid hard court player and won her only WTA title in San Jose by beating Aryna Sabalenka in the final in 2019, but she will have to punch above her weight to go past the first round in Tokyo.
Osaka v Zheng Prediction and Tip
There will be huge expectations from Osaka and the Japanese will aim to hit the ground running in Tokyo to live up to those expectations. Expect the World No. 2 to win the Round of 64 contest in straight sets.