Top seeds Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova became the first Czech players to win Gold at the Olympic Tennis Event after defeating Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic & Viktorija Golubic 7-5 6-1 in the women’s doubles final on Sunday at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo.
I’m just really proud how we did this week, and how we supported each other, even in the tough moments. We just did really well. Also during the year, we’ve been just fighting. We had many ups and downs, but I think the things where we should have played well and we wanted to play well -- it’s here, and it happened. We are really proud and really grateful that we have the opportunity to be here. Barbora Krejcikova
Bencic & Golubic matched the achievements of Timea Bacsinszky & Martina Hingis, who won the women’s doubles Silver medal for Switzerland at Rio 2016, while Brazil’s Laura Pigossi & Luisa Stefani claimed Brazil’s first Olympic tennis medal with victory in the Bronze medal match on Saturday, saving 4 match points to beat ROC’s Veronika Kudermetova & Elena Vesnina.
“The motivation we got from the previous medallists is really big,” Krejcikova said. “I think we got really inspired by them.
“I think we really need to thank them because without them we just wouldn’t have the motivation and the inspiration.
“It’s really big [to be Olympic champions]. We’re really happy and really grateful that we could be here.
“We did such a great job during these 10 days and we have this beautiful gold medal. It’s pretty much a dream come true.”
Krejcikova & Siniakova certainly lived up to their No 1-seeded billing at Tokyo 2020, coming through after an hour and 25-minute become the 3rd Czech pair to reach the women’s doubles Olympic final:, Silver medals having been captured by Helena Sukova and the late Jana Novotna, Krejcikova’s former mentor who died at the age of 49 in 2017, in both 1988 and 1996, while Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka earned Silver in 2012.
The reigning Roland Garros champions, however, went a step further winning Gold, converting 5 of their 11 break points, and winning 9 of the last 10 games to triumph.
“I was really nervous at the beginning, but I was really happy that we won the first set, and in the second, we just started to play our tennis, and we just played better,” Krejcikova said. “After this tough draw, these tough ten days, I think we just deserve it.
“We just really did well, and we were fighting every single game, so I’m just really happy, and I’m also really happy for my partner.”
Bencic, who defeated Krejcikova in the round of 16 of the singles event, heads home with 2 medals after clinching the Gold in singles on Saturday.
The 24-year-old has won 4 WTA Tour singles titles, the biggest of which was the Canadian Open in 2015 and the 2019 Dubai Championships but her Olympic achievements are top of her list.
“For me, it’s not ‘this’ tournament, it’s the freaking Olympic Games,” said Bencic after her singles win. “I’m sorry, for me, this is the biggest thing ever for an athlete, so I cannot believe I have two medals and one of them is gold. I mean, I don’t know what to say. I mean, it’s amazing.
“I cannot really believe it right now. I just don’t get it yet. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I didn’t think it would be possible. I was fighting for my life, and it worked out. I cannot believe it worked out.”
She continued her run of great form on Sunday in the closely contested first set, as her lobs and angled winners paired well with the backhand proficiency of Golubic, but the net-charging Czechs gritted their way through a number of tight games, saving a break point in their very first service game, to remain on level footing through to 5-5.
It was in that game where Krejcikova & Siniakova started to take control, after a deft Krejcikova volley forced an error from Golubic to bring up double break point.
On the second opportunity, the Czechs drew a backhand miss from Golubic to claim the first break of the match and a 6-5 lead, after which Siniakova smoothly closed out the set with a service winner.
The second was nearly one-way traffic as Krejcikova & Siniakova built a 3-0, double-break lead.
Strong play by the Swiss clawed one break back, but the Czechs’ momentum would not be derailed as they leapt ahead to 5-1, but the top seeds needed 5 championship points in the final game before they at last clinched the Gold medal after an error-forcing backhand by Siniakova.
“I’m just really proud how we did this week, and how we supported each other, even in the tough moments,” Krejcikova said. “We just did really well.
“Also during the year, we’ve been just fighting. We had many ups and downs, but I think the things where we should have played well and we wanted to play well — it’s here, and it happened.
“We are really proud and really grateful that we have the opportunity to be here.”
It was a first meeting for these four players, but a second meeting between Switzerland and Czech Republic in a Gold medal match at the Olympic Tennis Event, after Bencic faced Marketa Vondrousova in the women’s singles final here on Saturday, making history as, for the first time, the same two nations contested both the women’s singles and doubles Gold medal matches at the Olympic Tennis Event.
Bencic battled past unseeded opponent Marketa Vondrousova in 3 tight sets to become the first Swiss Olympic women’s tennis champion following a gruelling final, winning 7-5 2-6 6-3 in two-and-a-half hours in humid conditions to make history for her country and complete the first half of a potential Golden Double at Tokyo 2020.
She is also the first Swiss tennis player to win an individual Gold medal at the Olympics, with the country’s only previous triumph at the Games coming when Roger Federer & Stanislas Wawrinka topped the podium in the men’s doubles at Beijing 2008.
The 24-year-old, who has a career-high World ranking of 4, collapsed to the court after she sealed the biggest title of her career.
“I’m so happy – it is a dream come true for sure,” Bencic said. “I have no words how this happened and this is for sure the biggest thing I ever achieved and I will ever achieve.
“I’m just so thankful and happy and grateful that it happened for me in this Olympic Games.”
Bencic & Golubic faced Krejcikova & Siniakova, hoping to make the top podium together but the Czech pair had other thoughts.
A rock steady pairing in doubles, Krejcikova & Siniakova were always going to prove a difficult test for the Swiss, and so it proved.
The Swiss team went 15-40 down on Golubic’s serve at 5 games all, and although they saved the first break point, a loose backhand from Golubic sailed long and gave Sinakova the chance to serve out the opening set, which she duly did, polishing off the opener in 48 minutes.
The Czechs broke Bencic immediately to start the second before Krejcikova consolidated their advantage, and then applied further pressure to the Golubic serve to bring up a 3-0 lead.
Turning round such a deficit was always going to be an uphill battle against a pair who have been in excellent form at the biggest events this year.
“I think we have amazing team spirit,” Siniakova said. “If I need it, Barbora supports me, and I think and hope it’s the other way as well.
“We just really keep fighting and playing well now, so, as Bara said, I’m happy we did it because we had a really tough draw, and now it feels amazing.”
Finalists at the Australian Open, they won their 3rd Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, where Krejcikova won both the singles and doubles titles, adding to their back-to-back wins at Paris and Wimbledon in 2018.
Olympic Gold is the latest milestone to add to their burgeoning collection, and given they are both aged 25, there are likely to be plenty more prizes in store for the pair to come as a dream summer continues for Krejcikova.
Although Bencic fell short in her attempt to win a double Gold, she is still riding high.
“If I end my career now without winning any additional matches, then I would still be happy,” Bencic said, per the ITF website.
“What I have reached today no one can take away from me. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who made this happen”. Bencic also revealed after he victory that she was texted by Roger Federer. “Roger wrote to me today,” Bencic revealed.
“He said this is the perfect day to reach my dreams. I was really happy about that, and he was absolutely right. He’s incredible in that way. He really supports all the Swiss players – it’s incredible the support I receive from Roger, and this win is for him.”
Brazilians Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani won the Bronze on Saturday, claiming their country’s first tennis medal with a win over Veronika Kudermetova & Elena Vesnina of the Russian Olympic Committee.