Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Belinda Bencic secures gold medal; Elina Svitolina wins bronze | Olympic News

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Belinda Bencic secures gold medal;  Elina Svitolina wins bronze |  Olympic News

The 24-year-old battled to a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory in a match that finished at 11.28pm to follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who won gold in men’s doubles in 2008

Last Updated: 31/07/21 5:54pm

Belinda Bencic celebrating with her gold medal from the women’s singles tournament

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 to a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory in a match that finished at 11.28pm to follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who won gold in men’s doubles in 2008, and 1992 singles champion Marc Roset.

Bencic dominated the junior game but has struggled with injury and this was her biggest moment on the senior stage.

She could yet make it double gold in another Swiss-Czech battle when she and Viktorija Golubic take on Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the women’s doubles final on Sunday.

Belinda Bencic battled to a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory in the gold medal match

Belinda Bencic battled to a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory in the gold medal match

Bencic and Vondrousova, who defeated Naomi Osaka in the third round, possessed two of the most rounded games on the women’s tour, and this was certainly not just a contest of baseline bashing.

Bencic edged a very tight first set but former French Open finalist Vondrousova, whose forehand has been devastating this week, hit back strongly and looked the favorite heading into the decider.

However, she could not find the required consistency, with Bencic breaking for 5-3 after taking a medical timeout for what appeared to be a blister and then holding her nerve to serve it out.

Elina Svitolina took bronze, securing a first tennis medal for Ukraine, with a gutsy comeback to beat Kazakh Elena Rybakina.

Rybakina won the first set easily and led by a break in both the second and third sets but Svitolina, who celebrated her wedding to Frenchman Gael Monfils just days before traveling to Japan, won the final five games in a 1-6 7-6 ( 7-5) 6-4 triumph.

Svitolina, who is a top-10 stalwart but has never made a Grand Slam final, sobbed at the end, and she said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. Coming here for sure my goal was to win a gold medal.

“It was extremely tough to lose in the semi-final [against Vondrousova] and then to try to re-group and try to come again against a top player who’s playing really good.

“To win such a big battle for the bronze medal definitely means the world for me.

“For sure everyone in Ukraine is watching and we don’t win very 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.”

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