The first round of the women’s singles in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will feature several players in action on Saturday and Sunday, July 24-25. Heather Watson will face Anna-Lena Friedsam while Jelena Ostapenko will go head to head with the Russian Elena Vesnina. Get the live streaming options for these matches along with Alison Riske v Mihaela Buzarnescu and Ajla Tomljanovic v Yaroslava Shvedova games.
Looking to watch 2021 Tokyo Olympics live streaming online?
- For tennis fans in the UK, Europe, Australia & elsewhere go to bet365 > Tennis > Live Streaming here* to watch & bet on the ATP & WTA tennis live.
*Advertisement. Geo-restrictions apply & pre-funded account needed
Heather Watson v Anna-Lena Friedsam Preview
In the one and only time the two ladies have played each other – a 2019 WTA New Haven 125K meeting, Watson emerged as the winner in straight sets.
The 29-year-old British is competing in her third Olympic Games and will look to do better than reaching just the second round as she has done the last couple of times. That said, she finds herself facing a tough path with a possible match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round, followed by a clash with the top seed Ash Barty next.
Plus, in the light of the season Watson has had so far, it is quite difficult for us to imagine the #68 ranked player deliver a deep run in Tokyo anyway. With a win-loss tally of 7-13, she has spent most of the time on the tour losing in the opening round matches. The exception to this is the Birmingham Classic where she reached the semifinal.
As for Friedsam, current world number 119, she has had a more even season at 8-8. She arrived in Tokyo on the back of a four-match losing streak, last exiting in the first round of the Lausanne Open. Among her season’s highlights are a second-round appearance in Stuttgart and Parma, both as a qualifier. Barring a runner-up feat in Lyon last year, the German has never been the one to deliver deep runs regularly.
Both players are coming off a similar run in this game but given Watson’s superior pedigree and form on the tour, she will start as the favourite.
Watson v Friedsam Tip
Watson to win in three sets: 3/1 (bet365)
Jelena Ostapenko v Elena Vesnina Preview
This is going to be an exciting match between the 24-year-old Latvian and the veteran Russian who won the gold in the doubles category in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Vesnina leads Ostapenko 2-0 in the head to head tally, last defeating her in the 2018 WTA Dubai.
After struggling with her form over the last couple of seasons, Jelena Ostapenko has finally had a decent season where she got some wins and momentum under her belt.
Currently ranked World No. 30, she won the Eastbourne International in June (her first title since 2019) along with reaching the quarterfinal in the Italian Open.
Her last event was Wimbledon where she fell in the third round to Ajla Tomljanovic. Ostapenko, being the 2017 French Open champion and 2018 Wimbledon semifinalist, is a formidable player to face on any given day. She has some consistency on her side and that just may be enough to beat the 305th ranked Russian.
34-year-old Elena Vesnina has competed in only four singles competitions since coming off maternity leave in 2020 December. She featured in Madrid, Rome, along with the majors in London and Paris. The Russian’s best run came in the French Open where she made it to round three.
On the doubles circuit, however, Vesnina is coming off a runner-up feat in Wimbledon with Veronika Kudermetova. She has focussed largely on this discipline in 2021, looking to reclaim her crown of World No. 1 in doubles.
Vesnina has the experience and skills needed to outperform Ostapenko but as things stand, she will start as the underdog.
Ostapenko v Vesnina Tip
Three sets in the match: 6/4 (bet365)
Ajla Tomljanovic v Yaroslava Shvedova Preview
Representing the hopes of Kazakhastan, Yaroslava Shvevoa will face the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in her opening round of the Olympic Games. While she has beaten Ajla twice in the past, their last meeting took place almost a decade ago in the 2012 French Open.
33-year-old Shvedova is currently ranking more than 400 places behind Tomljanovic and hasn’t been particularly impressive in 2021. In the handful of singles events she has played in, the best she has done is reaching the second round in the Italian Open – this also happens to be her last professional tournament before the Olympics.
The Kazakh has been out of action since 2017 following surgery and childbirth. She made a return to the WTA Tour only in 2020 but a pandemic-stricken season didn’t do much for her form.
On the other hand, there’s Tomljanovic, fresh off her best Grand Slam performance in her career. The 28-year-old reached the quarterfinal in Wimbledon most recently, beating Jelena Ostapenko and Alize Cornet along the way. Up until that season-defining run, Tomljanovic, like most players, had struggled a lot to move past the early/opening rounds on the tour.
The current World No. 51 is yet to prove herself to be a force to be reckoned with, but she has the goods needed for a comfortable win over Shvedova.
Tomljanovic v Shvedova Tip
Tomljanovic to win in straight sets: 10/11 (bet365)
Alison Riske v Mihaela Buzarnescu Preview
Lastly, we have the match between Mihaela Buzarnescu and Alison Riske – an affair that can pretty much swing either way.
Riske, part of the USA contingent, has had a season that can be summarized with a win-loss tally of 2-6. In the six tournaments she has played in this season, Riske’s best results came in Eastbourne International and Nottingham Open where she reached the round of 16.
The 31-year-old had a sensational run in 2019 with three singles finals and a quarterfinal run in Wimbledon which allowed her to enter the top 20. Unfortunately, Riske couldn’t carry that momentum forward through most of 2020 and subsequently, has now fallen down to the 36th spot.
These results, however, are still superior to what Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu has delivered over the course of her career. Currently ranked World No. 168, Buzarnescu’s season so far has been largely muted, at least up until earlier this month.
In the Nordea Open 125K Challenger, Buzarnescu posted her best run of 2021 by reaching the semis where she fell to Nuria Parrizas Diaz. In the other tournaments, just like her American adversary, Buzarnescu too has fallen in the early rounds.
The two players are evenly matched in terms of experience and are coming off a rather similar spell in 2021. Riske will start as the favourite but don’t be surprised if it goes the other way.
Riske v Buzarnescu Tip
Three sets in the match: 6/4 (bet365)