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Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron to end Tokyo ceremony

Naomi Osaka on Friday lit the Olympic torch cauldron, signifying the start of the Tokyo Games.

The tennis star is representing Japan as she looks to win her first Olympic medals. She is the No. 2 seed in the Olympic field and will face 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai on Sunday. Zheng is unseeded in the tournament.

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The first seeded opponent Osaka could face is No. 16 Kiki Bertens, who is playing in the final tournament of her career. Iga Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, is a possible quarterfinal opponent.

Australia’s Ash Barty is the top seed.

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Osaka will be looking to add an Olympic medal to her accolades. She has already won the Australian Open and the U.S. Open twice. She has yet to win at the French Open or Wimbledon.

It will be Osaka’s first match in a couple of months.

She withdrew from the French Open in the midst of a controversy over her decision to skip press conferences. She said at the time she was going to take a mental health break and later decided to skip Wimbledon altogether to prepare for the Olympics.

In a letter published in Time Magazine, Osaka suggested a different approach to media appearances in an effort to safeguard against athletes’ mental health struggles.

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Osaka said she’s not comfortable yet being the “face of mental health” but hopes there are some people who can relate to her and know that it’s “OK not to be OK.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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