The ROC’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev ended their dream week in Tokyo in style on Sunday as they defeated natives Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-7(5), 13-11 to capture the Olympic mixed doubles gold medal.
They won 79 per cent (47/61) of points on their first serve and saved one match point at 9/10 in a dramatic Match Tie-break before closing out victory in one hour and 55 minutes.
The fourth seeds were teaming for the first time this week in Tokyo. They also saved one match point in their semi-final victory over Australians Ashleigh Barty and John Peers on Friday. Rublev has won two ATP Tour doubles titles in his career, with his most recent success coming in Doha (w/Karatsev) in March, while Pavlyuchenkova has claimed five doubles titles on the WTA Tour.
In an entertaining first set, breaks were exchanged at the start before Pavlyuchenkova and Rublev began to find their rhythm from the baseline on return as they raced into a 5-2 lead. They closed the set out on serve and then fended off two set points at 4-5 on Rublev’s serve as the second set moved to a tie-break. Karatsev and Vesnina then raised their game to level and force a Match Tie-break.
Pavlyuchenkova and Rublev played aggressively in the decider, battling back from 4/7 behind, saving one match point at 9/10 before clinching victory to improve to 4-0 in Match Tie-breaks this week.
Karatsev and Vesnina were competing together for the second time in Tokyo, having enjoyed a run to the championship match at Roland Garros in June. They overcame Serbians Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic on Friday to reach the gold medal clash, not dropping a set en route to the final. They will leave Tokyo with a silver medal.
The ROC has collected three Olympic tennis medals in Tokyo, with Karen Khachanov winning a silver medal in the men’s singles.