TOKYO (Reuters) – Brazilians Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani saved four match points against Wimbledon finalists Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina to snatch Olympic bronze in women’s doubles on Saturday.
The Brazilians, with tears in their eyes at the end of the game, capped a stellar week, coming from a set down and leading 5-9 in the tie-break to earn six straight points and beat the pair from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 4- 6 6-4 11-9.
It was Brazil’s first Olympic tennis medal.
“We knew we gave our all and we have all this emotion now,” said Stefani, ranked 23rd in the world in doubles.
“From 0-0 in the tie-break to 9-5 behind, we thought we could do it all the time.”
“We’ve had that feeling of confidence all along and now there’s that feeling of pure happiness to have achieved a goal,” she said.
“This medal is historic for Brazil. It is also a responsibility but also a motivation for us.”
Vesnina, who aims to win her second Olympic medal after gold in women’s doubles in 2016, can redeem herself when she teams up with Aslan Karatsev against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev in a 100% ROC mixed doubles final on Sunday.
Russian athletes have been banned from using their flag or anthem due to the country’s doping scandals. They are identified as athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee.
(Report by Karolos Grohmann, edited by Ed Osmond)