Belinda Bencic of Switzerland Wins Olympic Women’s Singles Tournament
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland won gold in the women’s singles tennis tournament on Saturday night, beating Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and positioning herself as one of the few players to win gold in both singles and doubles at the same Olympics.
Bencic edged out Vondrousova in a tight third set to win the game, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, breaking Vondrousova’s serve in the eighth game of the final set after taking an extended break during a change to having the big toe on his right foot heavily bandaged by a trainer.
Bencic did not appear frustrated with the medical downtime. As the trainer wrapped the toe, she bounced back in her seat for Panic’s “High Hopes”! at the Disco, which was playing through the stadium speakers.
Vondrousova had a breaking point against Bencic in the next game but couldn’t convert and then made mistakes on the next point to give Bencic the victory.
Bencic is set to play in a women’s doubles final on Sunday, partnering with Viktorija Golubic on Sunday against seeded team Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
If Bencic can win doubles gold, she would only be the fourth woman to win both singles and doubles at the same Games, a feat last accomplished by Serena Williams in 2012 in London. Bencic had hoped to play in tandem mixed doubles with Roger Federer as well, but chose not to play in Tokyo due to a knee injury.
Bencic’s showdown with Vondrousova, which featured players mostly exchanging powerful groundstrokes, was much calmer and subdued than Tokyo organizers had hoped for, even with restrictions on fans due to the pandemic of coronavirus. The stands were almost empty, and the scattered applause from Swiss and Czech delegations and volunteers was far more fleeting than the hum of cicadas (a summer event in Tokyo) and the roar of cars on a nearby highway.
The tournament’s appeal to casual fans was all but wiped out during the week, when Vondrousova routed Naomi Osaka in the third round, dashing hopes of many Japanese for an iconic Olympic moment of a gold medal for Osaka, one of the country’s biggest sports stars. . Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron in the opening ceremony, lost to Vondrousova in about an hour and later said the weight of the challenge played into their loss.
“I should be used to it by now, but the scale of everything is a little difficult because of the break I took,” she said after a defeat that drew sharp criticism in Japan, undermining may -be the country’s efforts to highlight racism. diversity of its athletes.
Earlier on Saturday, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina came back from a poor first set to beat Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina for bronze, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Russia’s Karen Khachanov will meet in the men’s final, scheduled for Sunday.
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