The women’s final four is set at the Tokyo Olympics, and no surprise, there are a lot of new faces remaining at a big tour event. Lone top 8 seed Elina Svitolina reached her first Olympic semifinal with her best performance of the tournament easing past Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-4.
“You know when you are higher ranked everyone wants to beat you, and everyone is extremely motivated to beat you,” Svitolina said. “I’ve had that for the past three or four years already, when I entered the Top 10: you step on the court, and everyone is just there to try to beat you.”
Svitolina is now into the medal round for a first time.
“For sure, it’s exciting, but I have to not think too much about that,” Svitolina said. “My goal is to focus on myself, my game and my recovery and be ready for tomorrow.”
Due to the heat, Paula Badosa retired to Marketa Vondrousova after going down 6-3 to the Czech who upset Naomi Osaka a day earlier.
“I think she was exhausted,” Vondrousova said. “It’s sad the way it ended. For me it’s good that I have some rest now, but it’s sad to see her like this.”
Vondrousova beat Svitolina in their last meeting in Rome last year, but the Ukraine No. 1 leads 3-1. Both players are trying to reach their first final of 2021.
“It’s a dream, but it’s just the semi-finals,” the Czech added. “I am playing Elina next, also in the heat, which is going to be tough. She’s a great player, so we’ll see. But I am just happy for now.
“We’ve played a couple of times – I beat her the last one in Rome, but that was on clay and it’s different. She’s a great player – she plays a little bit similar to me, so it’s going to be game-to-game, and it’s going to be tough mentally.”
Belinda Bencic completed her sweep of the French Open finalists dismissing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. Bencic will now take on 22-year-old Elena Rybakina who dumped 2-time Slam winner Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 6-1, winning 8 of the last 9 games over the former No. 1.
Rybakina is now 15-4 in her last 19 matches and playing well. She and Bencic have never played.
“My serve is a weapon,” said Rybakina. “I have a lot of ups and downs, but today I served really well. Actually, overall I played well, I didn’t have as many mistake as I’ve had before. I was really focused today and played good.
“It’s not easy to get in shape for such a big tournament, it’s once every four years. Physically I feel good, which is really good after I had such a tough beginning to the year. I’m really happy that here I’ve performed well.”
The four remaining women have never won any kind of medal at the Olympics. The two semifinals losers will meet for the bronze, so three of the four will leave Tokyo with a first medal.
Bencic is also in the women’s doubles semifinals with Victorija Golubic.
“As much as I can play, I’m very happy about it, it means good results, so I’ll take it any time,” Bencic said. “I’m super-happy, I feel like the singles is helping me for the doubles, the doubles is helping me for the singles.”
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