She lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony. She intensified discussions of mental health for athletes. She even has her own Barbie doll.

But Naomi Osaka doesn’t have a medal from the Tokyo Olympics — a deeply surprising and disappointing loss.

The Japanese tennis superstar was favored to win a gold medal but lost in her third-round match against Czech player Marketa Vondrousova, reported the BBC. Osaka’s Olympic journey has come to an end, but her professional tennis journey will likely continue.

What happened in Naomi Osaka’s upset match?

Osaka, seeded second in the tournament, had impressive wins in her first two rounds. With the first seed losing in the first round, Osaka’s path to the podium seemed wide open, reported the BBC. Then came her third round.

  • For Osaka, it was her third match in three consecutive days, reported The Associated Press.
  • Osaka’s competitor, the 42nd seed Vondrousova, took control with her serve and won the set 6-1 followed by a 6-4 set, per the BBC.

So what went wrong? ​​

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”Everything,” according to Osaka herself, per ESPN. “I feel like there’s a lot of things that I counted on that I couldn’t rely on today.”

  • “I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year it was a bit much,” she said per the BBC.
  • “I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great,” she said, “because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation.”
  • “I think I’m glad with how I played, with taking that break that I had,” she said, per the BBC. “I’ve taken long breaks before and I’ve managed to do well.

“​​All in all, really happy with my first Olympic experience,” Osaka said after losing her match, per The New York Times.

Tennis ace Naomi Osaka has opened the door to a much-needed discussion about mental health

What’s next for the tennis star?

Osaka has not confirmed when she’ll take to the court again. Before the Olympics, Osaka took an eight-week break, dropping out of the French Open and choosing not to compete at Wimbledon, reported Yahoo Sports.

  • Before the Olympics came, many were uncertain if Osaka would play again, per The New York Times.
  • Then the Olympics came and went for the tennis star, per ESPN.

Even without a medal. Osaka remains a big name in the world of professional tennis. As the defending champion of the U.S. Open, Osaka will likely return to North America to compete in the hardcourt circuit, according to The New York Times. The tennis legend will be looking for her fifth Grand Slam title and maybe gearing up for another Olympic run in the future.

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