Olympic Women's Tennis 2021: Semifinal Results, Scores and Reaction

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 29, 2021

Marketa Vondrousova, of the Czech Republic, plays Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the third round of the tennis competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

In what has been a wild season of women's tennis, it comes as little surprise that some unexpected names have made their way to the final at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Proving she was no flash in the pan after upsetting No. 2 seed Naomi Osaka earlier in the tournament, unseeded Marketa Vondrousova beat another high seed in Elina Svitolina on Thursday.

Meanwhile, No. 9 Belinda Bencic outlasted No. 15 Elena Rybakina in a three-set semi to advance to the final as well.

Here's how the matches played out:

(9) Belinda Bencic (SUI) def. (15) Elena Rybakina (KAZ): 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) def. (4) Elina Svitolina (UKR): 6-3, 6-1

In the first women's semifinal of the day, a pair of top-15 seeds went at it in Switzerland's Belinda Bencic and Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina.

Bencic ultimately prevailed and was overcome with emotion after one of the biggest victories of her career:

José Morgado @josemorgado

Belinda Bencic comes back from a break down in both 1st and 3rd sets to beat Elena Rybakina 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3 and reach the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a> final.<br><br>Olympic medal confirmed for her! <a href="https://t.co/341XT4OcTU">pic.twitter.com/341XT4OcTU</a>

The first set was an all-out battle with both players having ample opportunity, but Bencic staved off six set points to take it 7-2 in a tiebreak.

Rybakina bounced back to win the second set, and she seemed to have Bencic on the ropes early in the third by taking a 2-0 lead.

Bencic stormed back to win the final set 6-3, however, and WTA Insider broke down the never-say-die attitude she displayed:

WTA Insider @WTA_insider

Belinda Bencic in tears after closing out her 76 46 63 win over Elena Rybakina to advance to the Gold Medal Match. <br><br>Bencic waved 6 SPs in the 1st set and came back from 0-2 down in the 3rd to win the final 4 games. <br><br>Will face Svitolina or Vondrousova.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a>

With the win, Bencic will take either gold or silver, putting her in elite company in the history of Swiss tennis:

WTA Insider @WTA_insider

Belinda Bencic will add her name to Switzerland’s staunch group of Olympic tennis medalists:<br><br>Roger Federer<br>Stan Wawrinka<br>Martina Hingis<br>Timea Bacsinszky<br><br>🇨🇭will medal for a 4th consecutive <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Olympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Olympics</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a>

Neither Roger Federer nor Stan Wawrinka played in the Olympics because of injury, meaning hopes weren't as high for Switzerland as they typically have been, but Bencic came through.

The other women's semifinal featured perhaps the biggest feel-good story of the draw, as unseeded Marketa Vondrousova looked to take down another big name in No. 4 Elina Svitolina.

Vondrousova put an early end to Osaka's tournament on the No. 2 seed's home court, and she ousted Svitolina as well.

The 22-year-old Vondrousova has had some success in the past, including reaching the French Open final in 2019, but she was considered an afterthought when the tournament started.

After all, she has just one career WTA singles title to her credit, and it came back in 2017.

None of that has mattered to Vondrousova, who is playing the best tennis of her career, as she steamrolled past one of the best players in the world 6-3, 6-1.

WTA Insider noted that Vondrousova is carrying on the Czech Republic's recent history of singles success at the Olympics:

WTA Insider @WTA_insider

Marketa Vondrousova is into the Gold Medal Match. <br><br>The 2019 Roland Garros finalist defeats Elina Svitolina 63 61 and will face Belinda Bencic for gold. <br><br>For the second consecutive <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Olympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Olympics</a>, the Czech Republic will have a spot on the singles podium. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a>

Randy Walker of New Chapter Media pointed out that Vondrousova has a chance to become the most unlikely gold medalist in the history of women's tennis at the Olympics:

Randy Walker @TennisPublisher

If Marketa Vondrousova wins the Olympic gold medal in women's singles she will be the lowest-ranked woman ever to do so. She is ranked No. 42 and Monica Puig was ranked No. 34 in 2016. <a href="https://t.co/WxF9jLuuIL">pic.twitter.com/WxF9jLuuIL</a>

That distinction presently belongs to Puerto Rico's Monica Puig, who won gold five years ago, but Vondrousova is ranked even lower than Puig was then.

To take gold, Vondrousova will be tasked with taking down yet another top-10 player in Bencic. However, Vondrousova has a 1-0 lead over Bencic in career meetings, beating her earlier this year at the Miami Open.