Olympics-Tennis-Swiatek makes quick start as Tokyo heat takes a toll

by Ryan

By Sudipto Ganguly

TOKYO (Reuters) – Poland’s Iga Swiatek put in a clinical performance to move past Mona Barthel of Germany with a 6-2 6-2 win on her Olympic debut, as sweltering conditions in Tokyo took a toll on the players on the opening day of tennis at the Games.

Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova lost only one game versus Italy’s Sara Errani but this year’s Roland Garros runner-up had spent enough time on Court Three under the blazing sun to feel dizzy and took a medical timeout in the second set.

She called for the trainer while leading 4-1 in the second set but was able to return to court to complete a 6-0 6-1 win.

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, kicked off proceedings on the Centre Court of the Ariake Tennis Park and managed to stay calm and composed to beat Barthel, formerly ranked among the world’s top 25, with temperatures hovering around 33 degrees Celsius (91.4°F).

The 20-year-old got off to a fast start with a 5-0 lead and did not look back to set up a second round meeting against either Spain’s Paula Badosa or France’s Kristina Mladenovic.

She had to spend extra seconds with her towel to dry herself off but was able to adjust to the conditions better as the match progressed.

“It was pretty hot. Even though I practised here for few days already, the conditions were different during the match,” Swiatek told reporters.

“I’m pretty happy that I’m into the second round and not only the humidity and temperature was hard but also the sun, because on one side it was pretty hard to serve.

“We had to adjust quickly and change our ball toss. That was hard but the players who can adjust are going to be the best ones here.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly, additional reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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