On Saturday in Tokyo, Belinda Bencic defeated Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic to become the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in tennis for Switzerland at the 2020 Summer Games.
Bencic won 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 by hitting 15 backhand winners and converting six of ten break points.
“It’s incredible,” Bencic told NBC. “I can’t believe it. I don’t understand it yet. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I had no idea it was possible.”
Bencic, 24, began her run on July 24 in Tokyo with a straight-sets victory over American Jessica Pegula.
She went on to defeat Japan’s Misaki Doi, the Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova, and Russia’s Olympic Committee’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
She then defeated Kazakhstan’s No. 20 Elena Rybakina in the semifinals on Thursday to advance to the women’s final. She battled the Tokyo heat and came back from a second-set loss to win her historic gold medal on Saturday.
“I was trying everything to keep the rallies really long and make her work hard for it,” Bencic said of Vondrousova. “It was a balance between taking too much risk and pushing her. … I don’t know how I won, I really don’t know.”
In a women’s doubles match Sunday in Tokyo, Bencic will team up with Viktorija Golubic to try to win another gold medal against the Czech Republic’s Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
Sixth. Elina Svitolina of Ukraine took bronze in the women’s singles tournament. She defeated Rybakina in Saturday’s second match on Ariake Tennis Court’s centre court.
No. 1 in the world for men Novak Djokovic of Serbia suffered his second consecutive defeat, falling in three sets to No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in a bronze medal match on centre court on Saturday.
Carreno Busta won that two-hour, 47-minute match 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3. He converted one of two break points in the win. Djokovic failed to convert his lone break point opportunity.
“Dreams come true,” Carreno Busta told NBC. “This is amazing. I’ve never felt anything like this. It’s a bronze medal, but for me it [feels] like a gold.”
Djokovic also withdrew from the bronze medal match in mixed doubles due to a left shoulder injury. Due to the withdrawal, Australia’s Ash Barty and John Peers were awarded the medal.
5th place Djokovic was defeated in a men’s singles semifinal in Tokyo on Friday by Germany’s Alexander Zverev. No. 25 vs. Zverev Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee will compete in the men’s singles final at Ariake Tennis Park on Sunday.
Greece’s Paraskevi Papachristou competes during the triple jump qualifier on July 30. Photo by Richard Ellis