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Bencic vs. Vondrousova: Preview for 2021 Olympic Tennis Women's Final

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJuly 30, 2021

Marketa Vondrousova, of the Czech Republic, plays Elina Svitolina, of the Ukraine, during the semifinals of the tennis competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Marketa Vondrousova pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the Tokyo Olympics when she knocked off No. 2-seeded Naomi Osaka in the third round of the women's singles tournament.

Now, the 22-year-old is one win away from becoming the first tennis player from the Czech Republic to win an Olympic gold medal.

However, Vondrousova will face a formidable opponent in the final. She'll need to pull off another upset as she's set to play No. 9-seeded Belinda Bencic, a 24-year-old from Switzerland who is looking to become the first woman tennis player from her country to win Olympic gold.

Bencic and Vondrousova are set to play on Saturday in Tokyo, while the No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) and No. 15-seeded Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan) are set to play in the bronze medal match on the same day.

Here's everything else you need to know for the Olympic women's singles final.

                

Women's Singles Final Information

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Date: Saturday, July 31

TV: Olympic Channel (Tennis coverage from 2-7 a.m. ET)

Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com

                

Preview

This won't be the first time Bencic and Vondrousova have gone head-to-head. There's been one previous time that the two have faced off, and it wasn't long ago.

They played each other in the third round of the Miami Open in March. And although Bencic was the higher seeded player in that matchup, too, it was Vondrousova who emerged victorious in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

Vondrousova enters the Olympic final with a ton of momentum. Not only has she defeated Osaka since arriving to the Tokyo Games, but she's also defeated Svitolina and No. 16-seeded Kiki Bertens. She has dropped only one set, which came during her first-round matchup against the Dutch player.

But it was Vondrousova's victory over Osaka that provided the largest confidence boost. She defeated the four-time major winner in straight sets, winning 6-1 6-4.

"Since I beat Naomi, I was thinking I am playing well so maybe I can do better and now I am in the final," Vondrousova said, per Andrew Dampf of the Associated Press.

Although Vondrousova has never won a Grand Slam title, she's played in high-stakes matches before. She reached the final of the 2019 French Open but lost in straight sets to Ashleigh Barty. Since then, she hasn't made it past the fourth round at a major tournament.

This will easily be the biggest match of Bencic's career to this point. She has only made it past the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam event once before, and that was when she lost in the semifinals of the 2019 U.S. Open.

Bencic is looking to win Switzerland its third tennis gold medal. Marc Rosset won the men's singles tournament in 1992, while Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka won the men's doubles in 2008.

In order for the 24-year-old to get to the top of the podium, she'll need to get revenge against Vondrousova after losing to her four months ago. However, Bencic is also grateful that she'll at least be leaving Tokyo with a silver medal.

"To have a medal, it's the greatest thing. Even to be here as an athlete, in the Olympics, it's amazing," she said, per the WTA Tour. "To have a medal, it's something I dreamed of, and I didn't think it would become reality. I'm beyond relieved and happy."

While Vondrousova hasn't played a three-set match since the first round, each of Bencic's past three matches have all gone to three sets. And each of those wins came against seeded opponents: No. 8 Barbora Krejcikova, No. 13 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Rybakina.

Considering Bencic and Vondrousova went three sets in Miami, there's a strong chance the two play another long, competitive match in Tokyo. With how well each has been playing, the gold medal could be going either way.

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