Fixture: (2) Naomi Osaka (JPN) vs Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
Date: 26 July 2021
Tournament: Olympics 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan
Category: Olympic Games
Surface: Outdoor hard
Match timing: 11 am local time, 7.30 am IST, 2 am GMT, 10 pm EST
Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Liv
Naomi Osaka vs Viktorija Golubic preview
Osaka returned to action on Sunday following a near-two-month hiatus from the tour. The four-time Grand Slam champion showed no sign of rust, needing just an hour and 27 minutes to show the door to China's World No. 52 Zheng Saisai in the first round.
After her win, Osaka admitted the break from tennis had done her a world of good and that she was now feeling happy and refreshed.
Osaka's second-round opponent, Viktorija Golubic, meanwhile, is enjoying the best season of her career. The Swiss has a whopping 44-13 win-loss record for the year and reached her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Championships earlier this month.
Golubic has also reached three finals this year, losing two and winning one, at St. Malo.
The 28-year-old is clearly brimming with confidence, and that showed in her first-round win over the fast-rising Maria Camilia Osorio Serrano on Saturday as she dispatched the Colombian teen 6-4, 6-1.
Naomi Osaka vs Viktorija Golubic head-to-head
Naomi Osaka and Viktorija Golubic have never crossed paths on the tour before, so their head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Naomi Osaka vs Viktorija Golubic prediction
Viktorija Golubic has carried the momentum she gained during her quarterfinal run at Wimbledon into Tokyo. Golubic played a near-perfect match against Osorio Serrano on Saturday, landing 70% of her first serves and converting five of six break point chances.
She will be hoping to replicate those numbers against Osaka, but that will be easier said than done as the Japanese presents a huge step up in competition.
Although the World No. 50 produced fantastic numbers against Osorio Serrano, the Swiss isn't known to have a reliable serve. If her weaknesses resurface against a player of Osaka's caliber, she will be punished.
That said, Golubic has a strong forehand with which she will hope to go toe-to-toe with the Australian Open champion from the back of the court. The Swiss could also trouble the Japanese with her variety. Golubic likes to slice the ball and hit dropshots frequently, which could disrupt Osaka's rhythm from the baseline.
But as long as the World No. 2 can maintain a steady level of play, she should be able to easily see off the Swiss' challenge.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in straight sets.