Ash Barty shocked in Olympic singles opener
Ash Barty has suffered a surprise first-round singles loss to Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sara Sorribes Tormo has spoiled world No.1 Ash Barty’s Olympic singles debut, the Spaniard claiming a 6-4 6-3 first-round victory in Tokyo.
Sorribes Tormo played fearlessly against the recently crowned Wimbledon champion, achieving the biggest win of her career in an hour and 34 minutes.
Entering Tokyo at a career-high world No.48, the 24-year-old Sorribes Tormo was all-business as she capitalised on an usually high error count from Barty.
“It was just loose. I knew I wanted to try and take the match on today. It was going to be a fine line of pushing too hard and not getting stuck in the patterns that I didn’t want to get stuck in,” admitted Barty, who struck 55 unforced errors, compared to 13 from the Spaniard. “(I was) just too erratic (and) wasn’t able to make enough balls.”
While the match was played in searing temperatures at the Arieke Tennis Park, the Australian refused to blame conditions for the loss to her lower-ranked opponent.
“It’s brutal but this is like an Australian summer for me,” Barty told Channel 7 commentators. “I quite enjoy the heat. Obviously I love playing out here in these kinds of conditions but it wasn’t meant to be today.”
Sorribes Tormo asserted authority from the outset, securing a double break of serve to take a 4-1 first-set lead over the world No.1. While Barty claimed one of those breaks back, Sorribes Tormo closed out the opener in 50 minutes.
Barty appeared poised for a comeback when she recovered from an early service break in the second set, but the determined Sorribes Tormo edged ahead with another break in the seventh game. She consolidated and with her fifth break of serve, secured the defining victory.
But Barty’s hopes for an Olympics medal remain alive in doubles alongside Storm Standers. The Australian duo dropped just three games in their first-round win over Japanese pair Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya yesterday.
“I wanted to do really well here and today wasn’t my day but I get to look forward to playing doubles with Storm and really getting in and still enjoying this Olympics experience,” said Barty.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie 💚💛
John Millman, Ash Barty and Storm Sanders make a winning start in Tokyo #GoAussies
Read 👉 https://t.co/LORs2Ctp8F
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) July 24, 2021
Ajla Tomljanovic, among the players aiming to claim Australia’s first tennis medal since women’s captain Alicia Molik secured the singles bronze medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, launched her Tokyo Olympics campaign with victory over Yaroslava Shvedova.
Maintaining momentum from her first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon only weeks ago, the Australian was leading 7-5 3-2 when her Kazakhstani opponent was forced to retire with an apparent heat-related issue.
Tomljanovic’s victory sets up a second-round match with Elina Monfils (nee Svitolina), who arrives in Tokyo after her recent marriage to ATP player Gael Monfils.
Sam Stosur and Ellen Perez were also successful in women’s doubles, overcoming Latvian team Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasija Sevastova.
In men’s singles action, James Duckworth and Max Purcell joined countryman John Millman in the second round . It ensures Australia’s most successful Olympics showing in men’s singles since the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
Duckworth claimed a comeback win over Slovakia’s Lukas Klein before Purcell – a late alternate after Andy Murray’s withdrawal – stunned No.15 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Luke Saville, who also entered the singles draw as an alternate, exited to No.7 seed Hubert Hurkacz.
Aussies in action – Tokyo Olympics
RESULTS – Day 2
Women’s singles, first round
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) d  Ash Barty (AUS) 6-3 6-4
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 7-5 3-2 ret.
Women’s doubles, first round
Ellen Perez/Sam Stosur d Jelena Ostapenko/Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 4-6 6-1 [10-5]
Men’s singles, first round
James Duckworth (AUS) d Lukas Klein (SVK) 5-7 6-3 7-6(4)
(Alt) Max Purcell (AUS) v  Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-4 7-6(2)
 Hubert Hurkacz (POL) d (Alt) Luke Saville (AUS) 6-2 6-4
Men’s doubles, first round
Oliver Marach/Philipp Oswald (AUT) d John Millman/Luke Saville (AUS) 7-5 6-2
Austin Krajicek/Tennys Sandgren (USA) d John Peers/Max Purcell (AUS) 3-6 7-6(5) [10-5]