Fixture: (15) Elena Rybakina [KAZ] vs (4) Elina Svitolina [UKR]
Date: 31 July 2021
Tournament: Olympics 2021
Round: Bronze Medal match
Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan
Category: Olympic Games
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Liv
Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina preview
Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina and 15th seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan will square off at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday with a bronze medal up for grabs. Both women are looking to secure their respective countries' first-ever Olympic medal in tennis.
The two have had contrasting journeys at the Games. Svitolina endured a tough start to her Olympic campaign, needing three sets in each of her first three rounds against Laura Siegemund, Ajla Tomljanovic and Maria Sakkari.
Although the World No. 6 hardly broke a sweat against Camila Giorgi in the quarterfinals, she was blown away in the semifinals by Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-1.
In contrast, World No. 20 Elena Rybakina cruised through her first four rounds, dispatching Sam Stosur, Rebecca Peterson, Donna Vekic and Garbine Muguruza in straight sets. In the semifinals, the 22-year-old Kazakh squandered a big lead before falling to a 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3 defeat to ninth seed Belinda Bencic.
Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina head-to-head
Elina Svitolina and Elena Rybakina are tied 1-1 in the head-to-head. While Svitolina won their first-ever meeting in the Strasbourg final in 2020, the Kazakh exacted revenge at Eastbourne earlier this year.
Elina Svitolina vs Elena Rybakina prediction
Elena Rybakina had plenty of chances against Belinda Bencic but she failed to capitalize on most of them. Having led 5-2 in the first set, the Kazakh had six set points which she squandered. In the deciding set, she broke first to go 2-0 up only to collapse amid a heap of errors.
Rybakina will rue the fact that her errors cost her an opportunity to fetch her country a gold medal but the Kazakh still has a chance to finish on the podium.
Svitolina, meanwhile, had a disastrous outing against Vondrousova, committing three double faults and 29 unforced errors while hitting a paltry eight winners. Svitolina struggled to deal with the weight of the Czech's shots.
She will hope to put on a better showing against Rybakina. To stand any chance against the Kazakh, Svitolina will need to make drastic improvements on serve. She is unlikely to get too many opportunities on the Kazakh's serve so she will need to ensure she protects her own delivery.
Rybakina powered 14 aces past Bencic in her semifinal match and she will be keen to replicate that serving display on Saturday. If she can cut down on her errors and be a little more composed on the big points, she should be able to come away with the win.
Prediction: Elena Rybakina to win in two tight sets.