TOKYO (JAPAN) -Australia’s tennis world number one Ash Barty looked out of touch and out of place on Sunday as she crashed out of the first round of the Tokyo Olympics with a dismal defeat to 48th-ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Barty slumped 6-4 6-3 to the Spaniard on Tokyo’s blue Olympic courts, in a one-sided contest during which the freshly crowned Wimbledon champion never settled.
“Really disappointing day,” Barty said on the Olympic Channel broadcast afterwards.
“And I was pretty erratic. But I’m really excited for doubles… (I still have a chance) to do everyone proud.”
Barty and Storm Sanders beat Japan’s Makoto Ninomiya and Nao Hibino in Saturday’s doubles first round.
But singles was the goal, and Barty had been hoping to join Steffi Graf (1988) and Venus (2000) and Serena (2012) Williams as the only women to win Wimbledon and Olympic singles gold in the same year.
An inept performance made a mockery of that goal.
“Being able to represent Australia at the Olympics is going to be an awesome experience,” the 25-year-old had said after her triumph at Wimbledon, but it was anything but, and she left the venue speaking only briefly to an Australian broadcaster and the Olympic Channel.
For Sorribes Tormo, 24, it was a dream come true.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I still can’t believe it. It’s something incredible for me. It’s something I’ve been dreaming (about) all my life, being here and, even more, beating a number one, so, yeah, I’m super, super happy.”
The Spaniard will next play France’s Fiona Ferro after she beat Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 2-6 6-4 6-2.
She said she was also looking forward to her doubles match with compatriot Paula Badosa later on Sunday, in sweltering conditions that have already troubled players at Ariake Tennis Park.
“We’re here to play, we are here to enjoy and that’s what we will try to do,” she said.
The trouble started early for Barty, who was broken three times in the first set, as she struggled with her serve and hit 28 unforced errors to just eight from her Spanish opponent.
Barty showed signs of her trademark fighting spirit in the second set, getting a break back after losing her serve in the opening game, but was unable to keep it up for long.
Leading at 3-2, she failed to convert two more break points as more errors followed.
A final backhand into the net and Barty’s Olympic singles dream was over.