Belinda Bencic: The Swiss tennis star who achieved what Roger Federer never could

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is the new Olympic tennis champion

Belinda Bencic has been crowned Olympic champion of the women’s tennis competition after defeating Markéta Vondroušová 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.

The Swiss star took three sets to defeat her Russian opponent at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo. Bencic collapsed to the floor as she clinched match point, having etched her name into the books of Switzerland's sporting history.

The 24-year-old has managed to achieve something her self-proclaimed hero Roger Federer never could – win an individual gold medal at the Olympic tennis tournament. Federer and Stan Wawrinka earned doubles gold at Beijing 2008, but the 20-time Grand Slam title holder lost to Andy Murray in the men’s singles final at London 2012.

Federer withdrew from Tokyo 2020 with a knee injury, leaving the door open for a new Swiss tennis legend. Bencic took the opportunity and ran with it.

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is the new Olympic tennis champion

Who is Belinda Bencic?

Bencic was unmatched as a junior, winning the girls’ French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2013. She was already appearing on the WTA Tour aged just 15-years-old.

Her success at an early age comes as no surprise when considering her coach was Melanie Molitor, the mother of Martina Hingis. Hingis, another Swiss tennis player and a seven-time Grand Slam winner, soon became a mentor to Bencic.

Despite reaching 13 WTA finals during her career, Bencic has struggled at major tournaments so far. She has only made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam on two occasions, both of which came at the US Open. In 2019, she managed to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.

Bencic, currently world number 12, is competing at her first Olympic Games. She has also reached the gold-medal match of the women’s doubles, becoming the fifth player to reach two finals at the same Olympics since tennis made its return to the Games at Seoul 1988.The likes of Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Murray and Nicolas Massu have also achieved this feat.

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is the new Olympic tennis champion

What was Belinda Bencic’s journey to the final?

Bencic overcame Markéta Vondroušová in the final, and faced a number of other stern tests on her way to the gold medal.

She first defeated Jessica Pegula of the United States 6-3, 6-3, before easing past Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-4 in the second round. Bencic had to come back from one set down to beat Czech player Barbora Krejčíková in the third round, eventually triumphing 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

A 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 victory came against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-finals, followed by a tough 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 win against Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is the new Olympic tennis champion

What’s next for Belinda Bencic?

Bencic does not have long to celebrate her Olympic gold medal in the women’s singles tournament. She is back in action in the women’s doubles final tomorrow. Bencic and Viktorija Golubic will be taking on Czech pair Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková.

Following the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, attention will turn towards the US Open, scheduled for August 30th to September 12th. Bencic has often given her best performances at Flushing Meadows, and she will be hoping her new status as Olympic champion propels her to her first Grand Slam title.

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