Donna Vekic Upsets Aryna Sabalenka in Thriller 3-Setter at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/26/2021, 3:47 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 4, 2021 Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka reacts during her third round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Following her exit at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, Aryna Sabalenka made an impeccable return to the court at the Tokyo Olympics. Having done impressively well in the first round of the tournament, the expectations from her for her second round match against Donna Vekic were high.

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Even though she was deemed favorite, her opponent wasn’t one she could take lightly. Ruling out the possibility of a major upset would be a mistake, but expecting Sabalenka to live up to her World No. 3 rank would be ideal. However, her Croatian counterpart looked fierce and ready for battle.

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An incredible fightback from Aryna Sabalenka

Both players looked in form, right from the first swing. They were on their A-game and left no room for mistakes. With an impeccable display of service and class, they tied the match until game 4 of the first set.

However, Vekic used her experience and skill to find the all-important service break and get the upper hand over her opponent in game 5. She eventually wrapped up the first set in dominant style, winning 46 points in total. She recorded points on 27 out of a possible 50 on her first serve and an astonishing 20 out of 23 on her second serve.

The second set was do-or-die for the Sabalenka as Vekic had one foot into the next round.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 4, 2021 Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka during her third round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Going into the second set, there was no shift in the body language of the players. However, Sabalenka arrived at the party as looked re-energized and ready to take this game by its crux. Starting off, she looked all the more sharp and lethal in attack. She established authority over her counterpart, winning the first 3 games of the second set.

However, Vekic wasn’t one to give in to pressure so easily; she fought hard to make a comeback in the set, going from 3-0 to 5-3. On the edge of giving herself a lifeline, Aryna almost let slip a deservingly fought second chance. Vekic put on a defensive masterclass against Sabalenka’s attack, making life difficult for the 23-year-old.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 28, 2021 Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her first round match against Romania’s Monica Niculescu REUTERS/Toby Melville

Regardless, a determined Sabalenka did not give up and won the second set 6-3. With a deciding set ahead, it was game on at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Watch this story: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Others Winning Medals of Glory at Olympic Games

Game. Set. Match.

Fans were on the edge of their seats, witnessing the enthralling battle between the two. Just when Sabalenka was deemed down and out, she made a stunning comeback in the game.

Naturally, going into the decider set, she carried her momentum from the second set. Despite Vekic’s relentless efforts, Sabalenka looked unstoppable. She attained a service break in the first game itself and once again established her dominance in the match.

However, Vekic wasn’t ready to give up. Despite going down early in the set, she made a comeback, winning two sets on the bounce. Halfway through the third set, the score was 3-2, to Sabalenka.

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Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2021 Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her fourth round match against Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

The nerve-wracking game ultimately found its deserving winner. Both players fought hard, but only one could make it out to the top.

In an unbelievable test of character, Donna Vekic won the match, progressing into the third round of the tournament. The set ended with the scoreline 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 to Donna.

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Undoubtedly, fans will remember this game for a while, as they look forward to Vekic’s heroics further on at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Melroy Fernandes

280 articles

Melroy Joseph Fernandes is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. A Mass Media graduate, Melroy has been a content writer for the past 6 years, curating stories for several brands, starting from his own. At the age of 17, Melroy began his writing Journey with Team BIB, an event management company for everything Art and Entertainment.

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