"I was already at the limit of my powers," the 9th ranked WTA player, Belinda Bencic explained her emotions after the final match in Tokyo. She was playing opposite her friend, but then opponent Marketa Vondrousova who she defeated in three suspenseful sets 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Bencic did have to pause play, taking a medical timeout in the third set to have her big toe bandaged. She appeared confident throughout most ot the time and especially with the Czech who wasn't able to stay consistent leading to her loss.
Bencic laughed after her victory saying that "You could see it on the court--we weren't really opponents." This might have led partly to the Czech player being defeated in the end. It was truly an up and down season for the Swiss whose fair playing performance lead to the Tokyo Olympics could have never been predicted of a brilliant outcome.
In the Australian Open, she'd only reach the third round, with a straight-set loss to Belgium's Elise Mertens. Bencic did better at Adelaide making the final but fell to the Polish teen Iga Swiatek. Qatar and Dubai were busy for the Swiss but she had an opening loss and a second-round defeat of a three-setter match.
Bencic's clay-court season was tough and not being able to go deep until the start of the Grass Court tournament in Berlin caused her to wonder how would she do in the Tokyo Olympics to come. She did reach the final there but bowed to Russia's Ludmilla Samsonova causing more frustration.
The Tokyo Olympics had the aura and prestige despite the concerns of the Pandemic but Swiss Miss Belinda Bencic took the trip proving that she is not what her past performances had designated. It was her first time at any Olympics and she intended to get her act together here and now.
The WTA's no. 1 Ash Barty and no. 2 Naomi Osaka were pushed out of the first and third rounds and this opened up Bencic's mind that she might have a chance to not really win a Gold Medal, but do much better than the previous court competitions.
Jessica Pegula didn't prove to be a strong deterrent as an opening-round match which Bencic won in straight sets. Misaki Doi was in her hometown but Bencic was focused and not disturbed or flustered on her win over the Japanese opponent.
There was a scare as the opening set Czech Barbora Krejcikova won over Belinda. The Swiss broke back levelled the match and cleaned up her errors to win. She also did well with Elena Rybakina and started looking at her chances of winning the top medal at her first Olympics.
Matches often have their drama and in the third set, this one was debated by many when Bencic took a medical timeout leading at 4-3 over her friend/opponent Vondrousova. The rhythm of the match was in the Swiss' hand but the Czech had also lost much of her momentum during the break.
Bencic kept hers as she racked up a Gold Medal for her country in tennis. Most insinuated that it was the medical timeout break that sealed the match for Bencic rather than her defiant play. "This stuff happens in tennis.
She had a great game after," the Czech matter-of-factly commented. Belinda Bencic also went the distance in doubles and captured a Silver Medal with her partner Viktorija Golubic. Two medals in their first appearance at any Olympics proved to the Swiss that anything's possible and hopefully she'll take that energy into the next tournament now that she's gotten two Olympic medals and four WTA titles onto her racket.