'Shouldn't be allowed': Tennis gold medallist in ugly controversy

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Belinda Bencic, pictured here taking a controversial medical timeout in the women's singles gold medal match.
Belinda Bencic was criticised for a controversial medical timeout in the women's singles gold medal match. Image: Getty

Belinda Bencic was at the centre of controversy in the women's singles final at the Olympics, with a third-set medical timeout raising eyebrows.

Bencic became the first Swiss woman to win a gold medal in tennis at the Olympics, dedicating her triumph to Roger Federer and Martina Hingis.

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The World No.12 battled to a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory over Marketa Vondrousova in the women's final on Saturday night in a match that finished at 11.28pm.

The Swiss star followed in the footsteps of Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who won gold in men's doubles in 2008, and 1992 singles champion Marc Rosset.

However she is the first female player from Switzerland to win a gold medal in tennis at the Olympics.

But Bencic's triumph didn't come without controversy.

Leading 4-3 in the pivotal third set, Bencic called for a medical timeout to receive treatment on a blister on her right foot. 

A trainer spent several minutes working on her big toe as Vondrousova tried kept warm on her side of the court, preparing for her serve.

Aussie commentator Rennae Stubbs didn't like what she was seeing.

Belinda Bencic, pictured here after winning tennis gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
Belinda Bencic was in tears after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Image: Getty

"This is a pivotal time to call a trainer," Stubbs said in commentary for NBC.

"You should have to do this before you serve.

"This is an obvious blister. In my opinion, you shouldn't be allowed to do this before your opponent's serve.

"This is called icing the server down on the other end."

After the lengthy delay, Bencic came out and broke Vondrousova's serve to love before holding her own serve to clinch the gold medal.

Fans were also critical of the rule that allowed Bencic to take the medical timeout at such a critical stage of the match.

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Bencic dedicates victory to Federer and Hingis

The 24-year-old dedicated her victory to her country's great tennis heroes Federer and Hingis, who never managed to win a singles gold medal.

Federer lost the 2012 singles final to Andy Murray despite beating him at Wimbledon weeks earlier, and not even the great Hingis ever managed an Olympic singles title.

"I think I accomplished it for them," Bencic said. "They did so much in their careers. 

"I don't think I will ever be able to accomplish what they did. So it's for Martina and Roger.

"I'm so happy. It's a dream coming true for sure. I have no words how this happened and this is for sure the biggest thing I ever achieved and I will ever achieve.

"Sport can be so brutal at times, but so beautiful at other times. 

"I'm just so thankful and happy and grateful that it happened for me in this Olympic Games."

Bencic has the chance to make it a golden double in the women's doubles final, as she and Viktorija Golubic take on Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in another Swiss-Czech battle.

Meanwhile, Elina Svitolina took bronze, securing a first tennis medal for Ukraine with a gutsy comeback to beat Kazakh Elena Rybakina.

Rybakina won the first set easily and led by a break in both the second and third sets but Svitolina, who celebrated her wedding to Frenchman Gael Monfils just days before travelling to Japan, won the final five games in a 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 triumph.

with AAP

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