Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty: Who will win tennis Olympic gold after favourites crash out?

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Naomi Osaka has suffered a shock defeat in the third round of the women’s tennis tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The four-time Grand Slam winner, who hails from host country Japan, was stunned 6-1, 6-4 by Czech Republic’s Markéta Vondroušová. Osaka admitted the pressure of competing in the Olympics had been a "bit much".

"I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others," Osaka said afterwards.

The 23-year-old Osaka had been favourite to win Olympic gold after top seed Ashleigh Barty crashed out of the competition in the first round. With Osaka and Barty both now absent, GiveMeSport Women looks at who could top the podium on Saturday.

Elina Svitolina, Ukraine

With top seeds Barty, Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka all out of the women’s tennis tournament, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina is now the highest-ranked player in the competition.

The world number six, who is yet to win a Grand Slam, has defeated Laura Siegemund of Germany, Ajla Tomljanović of Australia and Maria Sakkari of Greece on her way to the quarter-final.

Svitolina has Olympic experience she can draw on, reaching the quarter-final stage at Rio 2016.

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Garbiñe Muguruza, Spain

Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza has been looking impressive in the tournament so far, beating Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, China’s Wang Qiang and Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium in straight sets.

The 27-year-old has won two Grand Slams during her career so far and reached the Australian Open final last year. She previously crashed out in the last 16 at the Rio 2016 Olympics, losing to eventual gold medallist Monica Puig. Muguruza has already gone one better, and this time could go all the way.

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Belinda Bencic, Switzerland

At 24-years-old, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland is one of the youngest players left in the women’s tennis tournament. This is her first Olympic Games after she pulled out of Rio 2016 to focus on the US Open.

Bencic had looked comfortable in her opening two matches of the tournament, getting past Jessica Pegula of the US and Misaki Doi of Japan in two sets. She faced more of a challenge in her third match, however, coming back from one set down to defeat Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejčíková 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Although Bencic is yet to win a Grand Slam title, the biggest moment of her career so far could indeed come at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo.

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Markéta Vondroušová, Czech Republic

Given the unpredictable nature of women’s tennis, the new Olympic champion could be a surprise gold medallist. This is exactly what happened at Rio 2016 when Monica Puig defeated Angelique Kerber in the final to win Olympic gold.

Czech’s Markéta Vondroušová has not had an easy ride to the quarter-finals, overcoming Dutch player Kiki Bertens 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the opening round. She then defeated Mihaela Buzărnescu of Romania in the second round, before delivering the knockout blow to Osaka.

The 22-year-old has already delivered the upset of the tournament and could now have the momentum to go all the way.

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