The remaining 16 women’s singles participants at the Tokyo Olympics fought it out on the fourth day of tennis action.
D. Vekić Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Popular second-seeded Naomi Osaka was knocked out of the competition early by Czech lefty Marketa Vondrousova. After this defeat, Osaka joined Australian Ashleigh Barty and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka on the bench.
All three top seeds have been knocked out of the event before the quarterfinals for the first time since tennis was restored to the Olympics in Seoul in 1988.
On the same day that Osaka faced Vondrousova, third-seeded Sabalenka was eliminated by Donna Vekic, and the first-time meeting between Elena Rybakina and Vekic took place.
Kazakhstan, along with the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), was one of just four countries to send four female competitors to this Olympiad, and Rybakina’s triumph kept their medal hopes alive.
After Falling Behind by a Break, Rybakina Rallied to take the First Set Via a Tiebreaker.
In the day’s final singles match on Court 1, Moscow native Rybakina served to start things off, but her Kazakh opponent held her serve to 15 points.
Number 50 seed Vekic was up next, and after a couple of holds to love, the score was 2-1 in favour of Vekic’s serve.
Vekic holds serve easily again to even the score at 2-2, and the Croat has two break points in the next game, both of which her Kazakh opponent narrowly avoids.
When the score was tied at 30 in the second game, a clumsy forehand from Vekic’s racket gave 22-year-old Rybakina break point, which she ultimately converted to go up 4-2 in the match.
After Rybakina’s racket sailed a long shot into the net, her 25-year-old rival came back and triumphed.
Vekic, a native of Osijek, wasted no time in her pursuit of a break point, racing to two before committing a double fault and allowing herself a chance to serve out the set.
When serving at 5-5, Rybakina gained a break point by delivering a powerful forehand winner over Vekic’s serve at 30-30.
She Drops the Opening Set, But Rybakina Comes Back to Win in Three.
Despite facing three break points from her Kazakh opponent, Vekic was able to hold serve and win the first game of the second set after 15 minutes of play. The Serb had the better of many challenges and eventually won the point when Rybakina shot a backhand long.
The Croat rode her winning streak into the second set, where she broke Rybakina at the age of 30 to increase her advantage to 2-0. Unfortunately for her opponent, Rybakina broke serve right away to put the game back on serve.
Vekic looked like she was going to copy him by going for a love hold, but she got stretched to deuce and had to settle for a service hold once she did.
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