After Venus Williams crashed out in the first round of the women’s tennis on day one, many expected that the competitions out in Rio would return to following the script. But just ask Novak Djokovic how things played out as he was the main victim to an upset on day two, he left the court in tears as his dream of Olympic gold slipped away in defeat to Juan Martin de Potro.
The world number one was looking for a fresh start at Rio 2016, after an early Wimbledon exit, and just needed an Olympic gold to complete his trophy cabinet. But he was handed a tricky draw against former US Open winner del Potro, who has enjoyed a renaissance this season, after coming back from years of injury nightmares. The big Argentine hit his Serbian counterpart off the court during their first round match, and although del Potro only secured the victory thanks to two tie breaks, he was in the ascendancy for the vast majority of the encounter. The 27-year-old securing a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2) victory, and staking an early claim for a medal, after defeating Djokovic in the bronze medal match four years ago in London. Fortunately for Djokovic, he will have another chance in the men’s doubles after he and partner Nenad Zimonjic picked up victory in the first round, but they’ll meet home favourites Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares next time they step on the court.
Djokovic was joined by the Williams sisters on the list of exits on day two at the Olympic Tennis Centre. Venus and Serena Williams lost an Olympic match together for the first time, and the defeat means older sister Venus, 36, has been dumped out of two competitions in two days. The number one seeds were heavily expected to defeat Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova from the Czech Republic, but fell 6-3, 6-4. The Czech pairing had never won a match together, as opposed to the USA team, who have won the past three Olympic tournaments, to add to their glittering trophy haul. The Czechs targeted the ball toward the clearly out of form Venus, leaving Wimbledon champion Serena stranded at the net. Serena however, didn’t find anywhere near as much difficulty in her singles match against Daria Gavrilova of Australia, winning 6-4, 6-2.
It clearly wasn’t a day for siblings as Jamie and Andy Murray couldn’t avoid an early exit in the men’s doubles. Wimbledon singles champions Andy, 29, defeated Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in the first round of the singles, but couldn’t transfer that on to the doubles court. The Scottish pair lost to Brazilians Thomasz Bellucci and Andre Sa 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (16-14), just highlighting how crucial the tiebreak is in doubles tennis.
Former world number one Rafael Nadal had no such troubles, going through both in the singles and the doubles, and with the exit of Djokovic, he will be looking to add to the gold medal he secured for Spain at Beijing 2008.
In the women’s singles, former world number ones Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki will meet in the second round, which is the first mouth-watering tie in the women’s competition. The winner of that match will increase their odds of challenging Serena Williams for the title, with French Open champion Gabrine Muguruza being another serious contender after her opening round victory. Canada’s Eugenine Bouchard and Germany’s Angelique Kerber are two more contenders for a medal, and the pair will face off against each other in the second round.