Tokyo Olympics: Vondrousova lands another shock to set up Bencic final

By Sports Desk July 29, 2021

Marketa Vondrousova landed another huge scalp in the form of Elina Svitolina to book her place in the gold medal match at Tokyo 2020 against Belinda Bencic.

It has been a memorable week for Vondrousova, who knocked out cauldron-lighter and "face of the games" Naomi Osaka in round three.

One more hurdle still stands in her way in the form of ninth seed Bencic, who fought hard for a three-set triumph over Elena Rybakina.

VONDROUSOVA MARVELS AGAIN

Vondrousova has had a Games to remember and she was a 6-3 6-1 winner against heavily fancied fourth seed Svitolina, becoming the first female Czech to reach an Olympic singles final in the process.

It means the Czech Republic will have a women's singles competitor on the podium for the second straight Games after Petra Kvitova finished with bronze at Rio 2016.

Incredibly, Vondrousova did not even automatically qualify for these Games with Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Krejcikova, Kvitova and Karolina Muchova ahead of her in the qualifying pecking order.

Vondrousova opted to use her protected ranking, dating back to a wrist injury prior to the pandemic, meaning Muchova missed out. Though criticised at the time, she is the last of the four remaining.

TEARS FOR BENCIC

Switzerland has a proud history of tennis stars but neither the legendary Roger Federer nor the great Martina Hingis have won Olympic gold in a singles event. Bencic has the chance to do that, though.

She had to go the distance against Rybakina in a 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-3 victory, with Bencic fighting back from 5-2 down in the first set.

Eventually Bencic came through in two hours and 44 minutes and the tears poured as she made the final.

"My emotions right now... it's too high," Bencic told the ITF website. "To have a medal, it's the greatest thing. Even to be here as an athlete, in the Olympics, it's amazing."

It means Switzerland will medal for the fourth straight Games with Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Hingis and the recently retired Timea Bacsinszky all having medalled.

The last Swiss gold medallist was at Barcelona 1992 where Marc Rosset won the men's singles.

Elsewhere, singles world number one Ash Barty remains in the hunt for mixed doubles gold. She and partner John Peers defeated Greek pair Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari – winning on a 10-point tie-break after the first two sets were shared.

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