Tennis star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is ecstatic after winning gold with Andrey Rublev at the Olympic Games, edging out Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina in a gripping all-Russian doubles final before Karatsev grabbed a gold medal.
Finalists at the French Open, Vesnina and Karatsev almost went one better than they did at Roland Garros when they held match point at 10-9 in the tie-break, only for Pavlyuchenkova and Rublev to prevail 13-11 in a little under two hours.
The victorious fourth seeds also saved a match point in their semifinal win over Ashleigh Barty and John Peers, showing their spirit in their first partnership on the court, as well as their ample experience in doubles.
Rublev took a doubles crown with Karatsev in Doha in March, and Pavlyuchenkova has won five doubles titles during her career.
“I can’t believe it, but we did it,” the French Open singles finalist said, speaking to her fans after winning the first set 6-3 and lost the second on a tie-break. 6-7(5).
“Thanks, everyone, for your congratulations and support. Guys, you are the best – you already know I adore you. Dreams come true.”
Their opponents had not lost a set in reaching the final, beating Serbs Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic on Friday to reach the gold medal match.
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There was a moment of comedy afterwards as Karatsev claimed a gold medal for Vesnina before the veteran informed him of his mistake.
Covid restrictions mean that athletes are asked to don their own medals, and breakout star Karatsev took gold off the tray presented to him by an Olympic official.
The 27-year-old was about to place it around Vesnina’s neck when she pointed to the silver medal, causing the Australian Open semifinalist to put down the gold.
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