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Olympic Women's Tennis 2021: Time, Schedule for Bencic vs. Vondrousova

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJuly 31, 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

A women's tennis player from either Switzerland or the Czech Republic has never won a gold medal at the Olympics. That will change for one of those countries on Saturday.

No. 9-seeded Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) will face unseeded Marketa Vondrousova (Czech Republic) in the gold-medal match of the women's singles tournament at the Tokyo Games on Saturday. Neither has previously won a Grand Slam title, so this will be the biggest match of both their careers to this point.

It isn't a final matchup that many predicted, but the favorites were knocked off earlier in the tournament. Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty (Australia) was upset in the first round, while No. 2-seeded Naomi Osaka (Japan) lost to Vondrousova in the third round.

Here's everything you need to know heading into Saturday's gold-medal match.

     

Women's Singles Final Information

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Date: Saturday, July 31

Time: Tennis coverage begins at 2 a.m. ET (match likely to begin around approximately 6-7 a.m. ET)

TV: Olympic Channel

Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com

     

Preview

Vondrousova has the potential to make history for her nation on Saturday. The Czech Republic hasn't had a ton of success in Olympic tennis over the years. It's taken home three silver medals and four bronzes, but a player from the country has never won gold.

But Vondrousova has a strong chance of becoming the first to do so. She may be facing a player who is ranked higher than her in Bencic, but Vondrousova has a ton of momentum, as well as past success against Bencic in the previous meeting between the two.

Four months ago, Vondrousova won a three-set match against Bencic in the third round of the Miami Open. The 22-year-old dropped the first set, then bounced back for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Considering all three sets were competitive, Vondrousova and Bencic may play another close match this time.

Vondrousova hasn't played many tough matches in Tokyo, though, as she's dropped only one set over her five victories—the second set of her opening-round win over No. 16-seeded Kiki Bertens.

Since then, Vondrousova has defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu, Osaka, Paula Badosa and No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina, all in straight sets. The victory over Svitolina was especially impressive, with Vondrousova cruising to a 6-3, 6-1 semifinal win.

After that victory, Vondrousova expressed her joy that she'll be leaving Tokyo with either a gold or silver medal, the latter of which will go to the loser of Saturday's final.

"I was thinking that [to win] two or three matches would have been great, and then I beat Naomi so then I thought that I was playing well and that maybe I could even do better," Vondrousova said, per WTA Tour. "I'm now just happy to be in the final. It's an amazing feeling."

Bencic expressed a similar sentiment after her semifinal win over No. 15-seeded Elena Rybakina.

"To have a medal, it's something I dreamed of, and I didn't think it would become reality," Bencic said, per the WTA Tour. "I'm beyond relieved and happy."

While both are thrilled about reaching the Olympic podium, only one will stand on the top spot and receive the highest honor of winning a gold medal. And it should be an exciting bout to determine who that will be.

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