TOKYO (Reuters) – Poland’s Iga Swiatek put on a clinical performance to overtake Germany’s Mona Barthel with a 6-2 6-2 victory in her Olympic debut, as sweltering conditions in Tokyo took their toll on players on the opening day of tennis at the Games.
Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova lost just one match against Italy’s Sara Errani, but this year’s Roland Garros finalist spent enough time on court 3 under the blazing sun to feel dizzy and took a medical time out in the second set.
She called on the coach while leading 4-1 in the second set, but was able to return to the pitch to complete a 6-0 6-1 victory.
Swiatek, the 2020 Roland Garros champion, started the proceedings on the center court of Ariake tennis park and managed to stay calm and composed to beat Barthel, formerly ranked among the top 25 in the world, with temperatures oscillating around 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 Â° F).
The 20-year-old got off to a quick start with a 5-0 lead and didn’t look back to set up a second-round meeting against Spain’s Paula Badosa or France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
She had to spend a few extra seconds with her towel drying off, but was able to adjust to the conditions better as the match progressed.
“It was quite hot. Even though I had been training here for a few days now, the conditions were different during the match,” Swiatek told reporters.
“I’m quite happy to be in the second lap and not only the humidity and the temperature were difficult, but also the sun, because on the one hand it was quite difficult to serve.
“We had to adjust quickly and change our pitch. It was tough, but players who can adapt will be the best here.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly, additional reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Himani Sarkar)