Svitolina wins women's singles bronze with thrilling victory over Rybakina

Elina Svitolina, of the Ukraine, returns a shot to Elena Rybakina, of Kazakhstan, during the bronze medal match of the tennis competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Seth Wenig/AP)

It took her nearly two-and-a-half hours and seven match points, but Ukranian Elina Svitolina finally secured her spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games podium.

Svitolina came back to beat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 and earn the bronze medal on Saturday, giving her country its first Olympic medal in tennis.

After recovering from a disappointing first set, the current World No. 6 found herself down a break in the third set. But Svitolina was able to recover and close out the match, even though Rybakina saved six match points.

Svitolina lost to Marketa Vondrousova in the semifinal match on Thursday. Rybakina, currently ranked World No. 20, dropped her semifinal to Belinda Bencic.

The match for gold was scheduled for Saturday, immediately after the historic bronze win for Svitolina.

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