Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina produced a stunning comeback to overcome Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 1-6 7-6(5) 6-4 in the bronze medal match and win the first-ever Olympic tennis medal for her country.
That Olympic medal feeling 💜🥉🇺🇦
Congratulations, @ElinaSvitolina! pic.twitter.com/FTNs5WNxOQ
— wta (@WTA) July 31, 2021
Svitolina was dismantled in the first set and dropped serve to trail 2-1 in the second set, so it looked like Rybakina was marching to an easy victory. However, Svitolina leveled the second set at 3-3 and won a tightly contested tiebreak to force a decider. In the third set, Rybakina was once again the first to go up, 4-1, but Svitolina responded by dropping just six points in a four-game surge and then converted her seventh match point to clinch bronze.
The match lasted two hours and 24 minutes, which is only the third longest match Svitolina played in Tokyo this week, having spent a total of more than 13 hours on the court.
The medal means the world to Svitolina, who found it hard to regroup and get back on the court to face another tough competitor after losing the semifinals to Marketa Vondrousova.