Fixture: (2) Naomi Osaka (JPN) vs Saisai Zheng (CHN)
Date: 25 July 2021
Tournament: Tokyo Olympics 2020
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan
Category: Olympic Games
Surface: Outdoor hard
Match timing: 11 am local time, 2 am GMT, 10 pm ET
Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Liv
Naomi Osaka vs Saisai Zheng preview
World No. 2 Naomi Osaka will launch her bid to secure Japan's first Olympic tennis gold against 52nd ranked Saisai Zheng on Saturday.
The 23-year-old will be eager to get back into action after a long break from the tour that saw her miss the Wimbledon Championships.
The former World No. 1 is a force to be reckoned with on hardcourt. Osaka won the fourth Slam of her career at the Australian Open and followed it up with a quarterfinal run at Miami.
She couldn't make much of an impact during the clay season, but now that she's back on her favorite surface, the Japanese will fancy her chances of winning the gold.
Saisai Zheng is currently languishing at 52nd in the world rankings after dropping from a career-high 34th last year. The Chinese has had a highly disappointing season so far, posting a 6-12 win-loss record. She has managed to string together consecutive wins in just one of the 12 events she's played this year.
That isn't an encouraging stat for Zheng heading into a match against one of the strongest players on the tour.
Check Out: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule
Naomi Osaka vs Saisai Zheng head-to-head
Naomi Osaka leads Saisai Zheng 2-1 in the head-to-head. While the Chinese won their first-ever showdown at Gifu in 2015, Osaka came out on top in their next two encounters.
Their most recent meeting was at the 2020 Australian Open, where the four-time Grand Slam champion emerged with a 6-2, 6-4 win.
Naomi Osaka vs Saisai Zheng prediction
Although Saisai Zheng is a decent returner, her fragile serve is a major cause for concern. Against a player of Osaka's caliber, any weakness on serve will be ruthlessly punished. The Japanese won't hesitate to pounce on Zheng's weak serves and seize control of the rallies.
That said, Zheng is known for her quick footspeed and agility. The 27-year-old can cover every inch of the court and she will also look for opportunities to move forward and finish points at the net.
All in all, Osaka is the overwhelming favorite to come through this clash. Zheng has struggled all season and she is unlikely to have the firepower to punch holes in Osaka's game.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in straight sets.