Olympics-Tennis-Brazilians save four match points to earn bronze in women's doubles


Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Tennis - Women's Doubles - Bronze medal match - Ariake Tennis Park - Tokyo, Japan - July 31, 2021. Laura Pigossi of Brazil and Luisa Stefani of Brazil react after winning their bronze medal match against Elena Vesnina of the Russian Olympic Committee and Veronika Kudermetova of the Russian Olympic Committee REUTERS/Yara Nardi

TOKYO (Reuters) -Brazilians Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani saved four match points against Wimbledon runners-up Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina to snatch the Olympic women's doubles bronze medal on Saturday.

The Brazilians, with tears in their eyes at the end of the match, crowned a stellar week, coming from a set down and trailing 5-9 in the tiebreak to win six consecutive points and beat the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) pair 4-6 6-4 11-9.

It was Brazil's first Olympic tennis medal.

"We knew we had given it everything and we have all this emotion now," said Stefani, ranked 23rd in the world in doubles.

"From 0-0 in the tiebreak to when we were 9-5 behind we believed we could make it all the time."

"We had this feeling of confidence throughout and now there is this feeling of pure happiness of having reached a goal," she said.

"This medal is historic for Brazil. It is also a responsibility but also a motivation for us."

Vesnina, bidding to win her second Olympic medal after gold in the women's doubles in 2016, can make amends when she teams up with Aslan Karatsev against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev in an all-ROC mixed doubles final on Sunday.

Russian athletes have been banned from using their flag or anthem over the country's doping scandals. They are identified as athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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