Barty opens Oly campaign against Spaniard

Barty opens Oly campaign against Spaniard

Fresh off her Wimbledon triumph, Australia’s world No.1 Ash Barty will make her Olympic debut against Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Barty, who is looking to add Olympic gold to her two grand slam trophies, has a tough road through to the Tokyo final starting with the world No.48.

Sorribes Tormo was a recent second round casualty at Wimbledon but proved a fighter, pushing former champion Angelique Kerber to three sets.

Barty and the 24-year-old Spaniard have never met before.

If the Australian star wins her first two matches she will meet Russian veteran Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, currently ranked 18 and the No.13 seed, in the third round at the Ariake Tennis Park.

With play getting underway on Saturday, second-seeded Naomi Osaka takes on 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai of China.

Representing hosts Japan, Osaka is playing her first match in nearly two months after she withdrew from the French Open following the first round to take a mental health break.

Australia’s five-time Olympian Samantha Stosur and debutante Ajla Tomljanovic have both been pitted against players from Kazakhstan in their opening-round singles matches.

Tomljanovic plays former world No.25 Yaroslava Shvedova, who recently returned to the tour after having twins, while Stosur meets world No.20 Elena Rybakina.

In the men’s draw, top-ranked Novak Djokovic will open against No.139 Hugo Dellien of Bolivia.

Djokovic is attempting to become the first man to complete a golden slam by winning all four major tennis tournaments and an Olympic singles gold medal in the same year.

Djokovic recently won Wimbledon for his 20th career grand slam title.

Two-time defending Olympic champion Great Britain’s Andy Murray has a tough opening-round clash with Canadian ninth seed Felix Auger Aliassime.

With Alex de Minaur forced out after testing positive to COVID-19, John Millman is spearheading the Australian charge.

The 32-year-old, who is making his second Olympic Games appearance, plays talented Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round.

It will be Millman’s first career meeting against Musetti, who pushed Djokovic to five sets in the fourth round at Roland Garros earlier this year.

James Duckworth is the other Aussie hope in men’s singles, competing in his first Olympic Games.

Duckworth, 29, plays Slovak Lukas Klein, ranked 246, in the first round.

Half of the top 10 men’s players are not in Tokyo, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Matteo Berrettini and Denis Shapovalov all missing.