Tokyo Olympics Day 1 Women’s Predictions Including Naomi Osaka vs Saisai Zheng

Naomi Osaka Australian Open

Tennis is once again prepared to take stage at the Tokyo Olympics. Day 1 of the tournament is Saturday (in Tokyo; late Friday night in the United States), and we’re here to share our thoughts on every match. Players fight for ranking points and national glory, and the Olympics almost always brings out the best in athletes. Monica Puig won this tournament in 2016, but she’s not in the draw this year. Who will win on Day 1? Our writers share their thoughts. Predicting this set of matches are Jim Smith, Manuel Traquete, and Yesh Ginsburg. We also have predictions for the rest of the day’s matches, split between three other articles. One features Barbora Krejcikova vs Zarina Diyas, the second headlines Maria Sakkari vs Anett Kontaveit, and the third features Kiki Bertens vs Marketa Vondrousova.

Tokyo Olympics Day 1 Women’s Predictions

Mayar Sherif vs Rebecca Peterson

Jim:
Rebecca Peterson looked sharp at the WTA Bastad Open, reaching the semifinals, but the Swede has never looked as comfortable on hard courts as she has on her preferred clay. But the same is true of Mayar Sherif and she has not been playing as well even on the clay as Peterson.
Prediction: Peterson in 3

Manuel:
This is not a very glamorous matchup to say the least; aside from their low rankings, neither player has shown any kind of good form all season. But both will believe their chances of winning a round here and will give it their all. The slight advantage goes to Swede as the more consistent player overall.
Prediction: Peterson in 3

Yesh:
Sherif was making history for Arab tennis until Ons Jabeur completely eclipsed her. Still, she’s having a good year. This should be a tight match, and while Peterson is a better player, Egypt likely wants this match more. That can matter at the Olympics.
Prediction: Sherif in 3

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Alison Riske vs Mihaela Buzarnescu

Jim:
At her best, Alison Riske would surely win this match. The American is an excellent counter-punching baseliner, but the American has struggled to stay fit this season and hasn’t developed much match sharpness as a result. This is still a winnable match for her, but Mihaela Buzarnescu has looked to the sharper of the two.
Prediction: Buzarnescu in 3

Manuel:
It’s a battle between two veterans of the WTA circuit. Although Riske is much higher ranked and would theoretically be a strong favorite, she has been having a terrible season, with only two match wins in 2021. Buzarnescu has actually won some matches lately and might just edge it here.
Prediction: Buzarnescu in 3

Yesh:
Buzarnescu’s career has been ruined by injuries, and she’s a fraction of the player she once was. Riske is solid enough to win this, though not dominant enough to be a lock.
Prediction: Riske in 3

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Viktorija Golubic vs Maria Camila Osorio Serrano

Jim:
On this surface, Viktorija Golubic should be winning this match relatively comfortably. The Swiss has had an excellent season, highlighted by her thrilling run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Backing that up will be easier said than done, but it would be a surprise if she fell at this hurdle.
Prediction: Golubic in 2

Manuel:
Golubic will be very high on confidence after her surprise quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon and should overwhelm the young Colombian. Osorio Serrano has shown signs of promise, but she’s not quite there yet and at this point in her career she most likely won’t have enough for her more seasoned opponent.
Prediction: Golubic in 2

Yesh:
If this was on clay, I’d be tempted to take the young Colombian. Osorio Serrano is a future star still finding herself in the game. Golubic has been playing really well recently, though, and should be too much on a hard court.
Prediction: Golubic in 2

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Naomi Osaka vs Saisai Zheng

Jim:
Naomi Osaka may have been out of action since the French Open, but the Japanese remains a force to be reckoned with on the court regardless of her struggles off it. She should certainly have enough to account for Zheng Saisai, who also hasn’t played since the French Open.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

Manuel:
This is the biggest match of the day, with Osaka making her return to action after the recent controversy that sidelined her from the last two Slams. Everyone will be eager to see how the 4-time Slam champion fares in her return to tennis, with the added pressure of winning a medal at home. The first round is theoretically a straightforward one, with Zheng not expected to put too much resistance, but nerves and rust could make it trickier than most expect.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Yesh:
Osaka looks relaxed and ready to dominate on a hard court once again. I don’t know if anyone in the world can beat her when she’s playing well on this surface, but I do know that Zheng is not one of the few who can come close.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

Main Photo from Getty.


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