(ATR) Nadia Podoroska rallied from 4-0 down in the third set against the USA's Caroline Dolehide to win the women's singles tennis title in Lima.
Nadia Podoroska rallies to win women's singles. (Lima 2019)
The Argentine also booked her place in the Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo next summer by winning the gold medal at the Pan American Games.
Podoroska and Dolehide split the first two sets, with Dolehide winning the first 6-2 and Podoroska the second 6-3 on the clay court at the Club Lawn Tennis venue on Sunday.
It looked like Dolehide, who won the women's doubles title on Saturday, would also take the singles gold when she jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the deciding set.
But Podoroska stormed back and it went to a tiebreak, which the Argentine won 7-4. The final set lasted 67 minutes.
“I am so excited for Tokyo. It has been a dream of mine.” said Podoroska, who is 22 and currently ranked 288 in the world. After winning on Lima's clay court, she told Around the Rings
she is also comfortable on hard courts, which will be used in Tokyo next summer.
While in the mixed zone, Argentina’s public broadcasting network TVA
gave Podoroska a Japanese language book and CD, “Japones”, to help practice her Japanese.
Dolehide, 20, turned pro two years ago and is currently ranked 262 in the world. She took the loss in stride.
“The medal win means a lot. That was my goal going into the tournament to win it. I didn’t get the win today but I did medal so I am proud of my effort.”
Though Dolehide competed Saturday in both singles and doubles, she says fatigue was not a factor in her loss.
“I think I trust my training. You get used to playing under fatigue, it’s pushing past that. It’s almost not even thinking about it, it’s kind of accepting it and moving on. I played I don’t know how many matches this week and I wouldn't trade any of it pushing to get better.”
Joao Menezes won men's gold in Lima, qualifying for Tokyo 2020. (Lima 2019)
On the men's side, Joao Menezes of Brazil defeated Chile's Tomas Barrios 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to join Podoroska in qualifying for the 2020 Summer Games. The bronze medal match pitted two Argentines against each other, with Guido Andreozzi defeating Facundo Bagnis 6-4, 7-5 to reach the podium.
The first match of the day was for the women's bronze medal. Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede-Royg won in straight sets over Brazil’s Carolina Alves 6-3, 6-4.
For Cepede-Royg this is the second medal she has received in Lima, having won silver in the doubles with partner Montserrat Gonzalez on Saturday.
She has been a part of both the medals won by Paraguay at these Games.
“I am really happy that I give the second medal to Paraguay. So I think of course I want the gold but she played really well yesterday. Today I focused for the bronze and I did it so I’m really happy with that,” Cepede-Royg said.
Cepede-Royg has been playing tennis since the age of five. In 2017, Cepede-Royg was ranked number 73 and shared that she hopes to reach the top 100 again.
Written and reported by Greer Wilson in Lima
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