This was Brazil’s first Olympic tennis medal, with semi-finalists Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani fighting fiercely in a bronze medal match, beating ROC Veronica Kudermetova and Elena Besnina 4-6 6-4. [11-9], Saturday.
My feelings are peace, conquest, and winning an Olympic medal is a dream. The medal will remain forever. I’m still trying to understand all the emotions. Laura Pigossi
There was delight on both the court and the stand in Brazil, after Pigossi and Stephanie saved four match points in a super tiebreaker and the Russians sent the ball long to lose a medal chance.
“I’m very happy to be in the first Olympics and win a medal,” Pigossi said. “Playing with Lou and representing Brazil is very exciting to me. I still don’t know what I’m feeling.
The Brazilians bounced after losing to the Swiss teams Belinda Bencic and Victoria Gorvic, after Rio 2016 champion Besnina refused to win her second women’s doubles medal.
“We continued to believe we could do that,” continued Pigossi, 26. “When I got the call, I told Luisa that the last one would be the first. She laughed, but believed it. We have already faced all our enemies and that it is possible. I knew. “
Pigossi and Stephanie needed a win to win the medal, opening a 4-0 lead over Switzerland in the first set in Thursday’s semifinals, but looking back they lost 7-5. Second, they fell to 6-3.
“At that moment we were very frustrated,” Stephanie said. “It’s over, I said, but let’s talk to the coach to see where we should improve so that it doesn’t happen again.
“I can’t complain about everything I’ve done this week. I can’t regret it,” promised Stephanie, who has never lost sight of winning a medal.
“The defeat in the semi-finals was very painful. I felt like they had a knife in my chest.
“I’m glad we had a day off. We had a tough match with the Russians.
“Lou had a great year. I wanted to give this to her. She has taken tennis to another level in Brazil, so I played a lot for her.”
The conversation went well, and in the duo’s bronze medal-winning contest, they were heroic to counter the very powerful combination of Kudermetova and Vesnina.
At the beginning of the week, they overtook Canada’s No. 7 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman in the opening round, followed by Czechs Karolina Priskova and Marka Vendrusova, and America’s No. 4 seed Bethanie Mattek.・ I passed Sands and Jessica Pegula to advance to the semi-finals. ,
© Vincenzo Pinto / AFP via Getty Images
On Saturday, on Court 1 of Ariake Tennis Park, Pigossi and Stephanie stopped an unlikely comeback to complete Cinderella’s run on a trip to the podium.
The Brazilians were one of the last teams to win a doubles draw entry, but they made the most of their last last opportunity and bronze medal after a fascinating and very entertaining play of 2 hours 11 minutes. Surprised the Russian duo who robbed.
The Brazilian Tennis Federation had the pair on the waiting list, so they won the spot a few days before the event started.
Pigossi and 23-year-old Stephanie were childhood friends, but they didn’t play together on tour before this week’s Olympic debut. This was Pigossi’s first tour-level doubles event of the 2021 season.
Stephanie was 23 and started playing tennis at the age of 10 near Perdizes, west of São Paulo.
In 2011, she moved to Florida with her parents, where she continued to play in high school and college, climbing to 10th place in the Junior World Rankings, sharing advertising courses and tennis.
In 2018, she decided to focus on her sport, playing with American Hayley Carter on the circuit, winning minor tournaments in the United States and Uzbekistan, and reaching the US Open quarterfinals.
Alongside Carolina Merigeni, Stephanie won the bronze medal at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.
The 26-year-old Pigossi, who grew up and started playing in São Paulo, also moved to another country and decided to live in Barcelona in 2016 and concentrate on tennis.
She reached the highest doubles ranking at 125 in the world in February 2020 and is no longer in 188th place.
Pigossi has 12 titles on fewer world circuit stages and usually plays with Russia’s Evgeniya Levashova, who is not currently number 553 in the world.
Stephanie was ranked 23rd in the world in doubles and three times in doubles on this year’s WTA Tour, forming a noble pair with Pigossi for a week.
© Vincenzo Pinto / AFP via Getty Images
The Brazilians won the first chance against Kudermetova and Vesnina, scoring nearly 67% of their second service points, while the Russians only scored 51%.
Brazilians lowered their first set from 1 to 4 to 4 to 4 to increase their competitiveness, but Vesnina won another Olympic women’s doubles medal in Rio 2016 with Ekaterina Makarova. ..
The momentum gained towards the end of the opening round was rewarded at the start of the second match, which defeated Saab in the first match.
Behind Pigossi’s powerful baseline shots and superlative net play from Stephanie, they never gave up leading the rest of the set and leveled it to bring it to the tiebreaker of the match. ..
The Russians were the first to take command of the breaker, but they jumped 5-1 as Bethnina set Kudermetova’s excellent volley winner on Sterling serve and return.
The Brazilians maintained Wimbledon runner-up, but Kudermetova and Vesnina reached four times the match points 9-5, and supported by a more exceptional volley from Stephanie, all four chances in a row. Erase and reach 9-9.
At that stage, the rally ended with a rare net Vesnina groundstroke, suddenly giving the Brazilians the first matchpoint and transforming to claim an emotional comeback victory.
Pigossi and Stephanie celebrated on the court with the team after a stylish end to the week. Fernando Merigeni also surpassed Brazil’s best-ever finish at the Olympic tennis event when he reached the men’s singles event bronze medal match in Atlanta in 1996, but fell. Heading to Leander Paes, India, he finished 4th, just down the podium.
It seems unlikely that he will be in Tokyo 2020, and winning an unprecedented medal in Brazil didn’t bother him, especially as he didn’t team up as a partner until he landed in Japan.
“My feelings are peace, conquest, and my dream is to win an Olympic medal,” Pigossi said at a post-match press conference. “The medal will remain forever. I’m still trying to understand all the emotions.”
Having won the bronze, they are thinking of playing more together in the tournament.
“We are sure we will play together at other times to help me move up the rankings,” Pigossi said with a laugh at her partner. “Wash the other with one hand”
The medal ceremony will take place on Sunday after the gold medal match between Czech top seeds Barbora Krejčkova and Katerina Sr. Kova and Swiss Bench and Victoria Gorvic.
– Tennis Sports
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