Switzerland's Belinda Bencic emerges women's singles tennis champ

Tokyo, Jul 31 (IANS): No.9 seed Belinda Bencic won Switzerland's third Olympic tennis gold with a nail-biting 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 defeat of the unseeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in two hours and 30 minutes on Saturday.

Previously, Marc Rosset had won gold in men's singles at Barcelona 1992 and Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka teamed up to win the men's doubles at Beijing 2008. In addition, Federer was the men's singles silver medallist at London 2012, while Timea Bacsinszky and Martina Hingis captured silver in women's doubles at Rio 2016.

The result marks Belinda's first title since Moscow 2019 after losing both of her previous finals this season, in Adelaide and Berlin. The 24-year-old trailed by an early break in the deciding set against Marketa, but was able to execute her aggressive strategy in key moments to seal victory.

Earlier, world No.6 Elina Svitolina won the bronze, rallying from 1-4 down in the final set to defeat Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina, 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 and clinch Ukraine's first-ever Olympic tennis medal.

Playing in her second Olympics, Elina's determination was the story of her bronze-medal run. Four of her six matches were won in a deciding set.

Elina defeated Germany's Laura Siegemund, Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic, Greece's Maria Sakkari, and Italy's Camila Giorgi, before losing in the semifinals to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.

Against Rybakina, who breezed through the tournament without losing a set before the semifinals, Elina grafted for 2 hours and 24 minutes, which was still just the third-longest match she played this week.

In the first set, Elina managed to win just five points across her three service games. After fending off Elina in a 10-minute game to hold to 2-1, Rybakina overwhelmed the Ukrainian's serve to pocket the opener in 28 minutes.

After falling behind an early break in the second set, Elina dug deep into her reserves to stage a fine comeback and win the set. The final set was far tougher as Elina, trailing 1-4, staged a remarkable recovery to defeat her opponent 6-4 and clinch the bronze.

In her only previous Olympic appearance in 2016, Elina had defeated Germany's Andrea Petkovic, Great Britain's Heather Watson, and American star Serena Williams to reach the quarterfinals before losing to eventual bronze medallist Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.



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Title: Switzerland's Belinda Bencic emerges women's singles tennis champ

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