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After a shocking third-round loss at the Olympics, Naomi Osaka has broken her silence, confessing that the strain of being the face of the Games was too much for her.
Osaka's hopes of winning an Olympic gold medal on home soil were dashed on Tuesday when she lost to Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-4.
Osaka made a sad figure in her second match after retiring from the French Open due to mental health difficulties, her Olympic dream ending in cruel way.
The Japanese star, who lighted the Olympic cauldron and was one of the Games' faces, struggled in an error-filled performance that broke the competition wide open.
The top three women all crashed out before the finals rounds, including world No. 1 Ash Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka.
Following the match, Osaka expressed her unhappiness.
"How dissatisfied am I? I mean, I'm disappointed in every loss, but this one seems to sting a little more ""I'm a four-time grand slam winner," remarked the four-time champion.
"Everything," she said when asked what went wrong. "If you watch the match, you'll probably see."
"I feel like there are a lot of things I used to count on that I can't count on anymore."
As the 42nd-ranked Vondrousova sped away with the first set, Osaka dropped service in the first game and was broken twice more.
The second seed broke in the second set but gave up the early lead with a double fault, allowing Vondrousova to tie the match at two games apiece.
The 23-year-old struggled with inconsistency and had no response to Vondrousova's array of deft drop shots, even when given a chance to reclaim the initiative.
Osaka saved two match points while serving to keep the match alive at 4-5, but Vondrousova converted on the third attempt when Osaka smashed a backhand wide.
In the quarter-finals, Vondrousova will meet Paula Badosa of Spain.
"Of course, it's one of the most significant victories of my career," said Vondrousova, the runner-up in the 2019 French Open.