Ash Barty has been knocked out of the Tokyo Olympics singles in the first round, upset by unheralded Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets. In the biggest shock of the Games so far, 48th-ranked Sorribes Tormo beat the world No 1 and newly crowned Wimbledon champion 6-4, 6-3.
The defeat, in which Barty made 55 unforced errors to Sorribes Tormo’s 13, leaves the Australian’s medal hopes resting on the doubles, in which she advanced to the second round with a first-up win with Storm Sanders on Saturday.
“It was a tough day, a disappointing day. I can’t lie about that,” Barty told the Seven Network. “It was just loose. I knew I wanted to try and take the match on today and it was going to be a fine line of pushing too hard and not getting stuck into patterns I didn’t want to get stuck in. [I was] just too erratic today, I wasn’t able to make enough balls.”
In the blistering Tokyo heat, Barty held serve but quickly found herself on the back foot with Sorribes Tormo breaking her twice to open up a 4-1 lead. Barty managed a break of her own but Sorribes Tormo, who has never made it past the second round of a grand slam, closed out the set.
Barty then dropped the opening service game of the second set, briefly resettling with a par of breaks before dropping serve after holding a 40-0 lead. From there Sorribes Tormo held her nerve – and her serve – to close out the biggest win of her career.
The energy-sapping conditions have attracted criticism from players included Novak Djokovic, who described the humidity as “brutal”, but Barty opted against using it as an excuse.
“Yeah, it’s brutal, but this is like an Australian summer for me," sy het gese. “I quite enjoy the heat. I love playing out here in these kind of conditions, but it wasn’t meant to be today.”
James Duckworth joined Australian teammate John Millman in the second round of the men’s singles, the world No.77 continuing his prosperous year with a comeback 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-4) win against Slovakia’s Lukas Klein.
Fresh off a breakthrough third-round appearance at Wimbledon, Duckworth was solid on serve and produced back-to-back forehand and backhand winners in the decisive tie-break to edge clear. He will face Karen Khachanov in the second round.
A late replacement in the singles for the injured Marton Fucsovics, Australian Luke Saville was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Hubert Hurkacz. Compatriot Max Purcell also found his way into the singles competition after Briton Andy Murray’s late withdrawal, Purcell due to face emerging Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime later on Sunday.