In the women’s singles competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Elina Svitolina took bronze.
Ukraine’s first Olympic tennis medal was won by the World No.6, who rallied from a set down to upset Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
E. Rybakina Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Svitolina, competing in her second Olympics, won bronze by displaying her signature grit and commitment.
Over the course of her career,
She played for over 13 hours in six matches, with four of those wins coming in deciding sets. Despite making it to the finals, Svitolina fell to Marketa Vondrousova, who she had previously beaten Laura Siegemund, Ajla Tomljanovic, Maria Sakkari, and Camila Giorgi.
Svitolina chipped away for 2 hours and 24 minutes against Rybakina, who had cruised through the tournament without dropping a set prior to the semifinals, and it was still only the third longest match she played this week.
Svitolina was quoted on the ITF website as saying, “Coming here, for sure my objective was to win a gold medal,” adding that “it was really challenging to lose in the semi-finals and then attempt to regroup and come again against a top player who is playing really strong.”
The World Means a lot to me Because I just won a Tough fight for the Bronze Medal.
It’s a huge deal for me and for Ukraine because we don’t get many medals at these things.
As expected, Rybakina came out swinging with her baseline power game in full force at the outset of their first meeting on hard courts.
Svitolina only managed to win five points in the first set, and those came from her three service games. After holding 2-1 against Svitolina for 10 minutes, Rybakina won the first set by breaking the Ukrainian’s serve in just 28 minutes.
Svitolina Revealed her Mental Game, Saying,
“My secret is to overcome those terrible thoughts with something more positive, so I can focus on the future and leave the bad things behind.” I was upset at first, then I gathered myself and came back. This was a tough bout, but I kept my mind on the prize at hand: a bronze medal.
When Svitolina found herself down a break in the second set against Rybakina, she dug in and turned up the aggression, eventually forcing the set to a tiebreak.
At 5-5, the momentum swung when Rybakina played a flawless baseline point to earn a routine forehand volley at the net, which would have given her match point.
Svitolina had set point when Rybakina missed a Volley and a Forehand return, but both shots went wide.
Rybakina was faced with a break point in the very first game of the deciding set, but she was able to recover from a double-fault at 30-30 and maintain her serve.
Svitolina was next to serve a double fault and go to the brink of defeat. Svitolina played a cautious forehand that dropped short, and Rybakina hammered a forehand winner to go up 2-0 in the break after Svitolina failed to return to the aggressive mindset that won her the second set.
Svitolina Stood Firm once more, Refusing to Yield.
The 2019 WTA Finals runner-up and participant in three major finals kept up the pressure on Rybakina’s serve with a strong return game, and she eventually broke for the second time in the match to get the advantage at 3-4. Svitolina pounced on a reeling Rybakina, breaking serve for a third time to set up a match point.
With the hopes of Ukraine resting on her shoulders, Svitolina converted on her seventh match point in the deciding game to complete one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. The Olympic bronze medal joins Svitolina’s 15 WTA victories, including the 2019 WTA Finals.
Svitolina reached the quarterfinals of the Olympics for the first time in 2016 after beating Andrea Petkovic, Heather Watson, and Serena Williams. She ultimately lost to Petra Kvitova, who went on to win the bronze medal.
Svitolina stated, “I hoped to win a medal for my nation in the Olympics, and that’s not easy.” That’s what you’d hope to see at the Olympics, right?
Lots of fierce competition and intense matches. After being disappointed by a semi-final loss, I am now pleased with my bronze medal. I’ve had a great week overall, but taking home the bronze medal truly puts the icing on the cake.
The gold medal match is set for later on Saturday between Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.
Earlier, Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani of Brazil survived four match points to win bronze in doubles against Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina of Russia.