Belinda Bencic defeats Marketa Vondrousova in three sets to win Switzerland’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s tennis at Tokyo 2020
- Belinda Bencic is also in the women’s doubles final with partner Viktorija Golubic
- Bencic emulates Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka in winning gold for Swiss
- Elina Svitolina won the bronze medal after beating Elena Rybakina in three sets
Ninth seed Belinda Bencic became Switzerland’s first female Olympic gold medalist in tennis with victory over Marketa Vondrousova to continue a dream week in Tokyo.
The 24-year-old battled for a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory in a game that ended at 11:28 PM to follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who won golds in men’s doubles in 2008 and 1992. singles champion Marc Rosset.
Bencic dominated the junior game but struggled with an injury and this was her biggest moment on the senior podium.
Belinda Bencic celebrates after winning Switzerland’s first-ever gold medal in women’s tennis
She could still double the gold in another Swiss-Czech battle when she and Viktorija Golubic face Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in Sunday’s women’s doubles final.
Bencic and Vondrousova, who beat Naomi Osaka in the third round, have two of the most rounded matches on the women’s tour, and this certainly wasn’t just a match of baseline bashing.
Bencic took a very tight first set, but former French Open finalist Vondrousova, whose forehand has been devastating this week, struck back strongly and faced the favorite for the decider.
Marketa Vondrousova (right) won the second set impressively but lost the crucial third
However, she couldn’t find the required consistency, with Bencic breaking for 5-3 after taking a medical time out for what appeared to be a blister and then having her guts to serve it out.
Elina Svitolina took bronze and earned a first tennis medal for Ukraine with a brave comeback to defeat Kazakhstan Elena Rybakina.
Rybakina won the first set easily and led through a break in both the second and third sets, but Svitolina, who celebrated her marriage to Frenchman Gael Monfils just days before traveling to Japan, won the last five games in a 1-6 7-6 (5) 6-4 triumph.
Elina Svitolina from Ukraine won the bronze medal after beating Elena Rybakina in three sets
Svitolina, a top 10 hero who has never made it to a grand slam final, sobbed at the end, saying: ‘It’s an incredible feeling.
“It was definitely my goal to win a gold medal here. It was extremely hard to lose in the semi-final (to Vondrousova) and then try to regroup and try again against a top player who plays really well, and to win such a big battle for the bronze medal means absolutely the world to me.
“Of course everyone in Ukraine is watching and we don’t win many medals, so it’s very special for me and for Ukraine. When I finally won that match point, it was just an explosion of emotions.’