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Uzbek-Born Tennis Ace Chases Olympic Dream Under U.S. Flag

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

It is late June and one of the most anticipated moments on the professional tennis calendar has arrived. Top players are stepping onto the hallowed British grass courts of Wimbledon, the sport's most prestigious tournament.

Among them is Varvara Lepchenko, a 26-year-old left-hander with a tenacious baseline game, who is coming off the best result of her career. Just weeks earlier at the French Open she upset Serbia's Jelena Jankovic -- the former world number one -- before overcoming defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy.

Now an upstart instead of an unknown, Lepchenko is about to play her first-round match at Wimbledon when she checks her Twitter account. Word is spreading that she has been named to the U.S. Olympic team. The London Olympics are to be held in just a few weeks, with the tennis event taking place at Wimbledon. She takes to the court and dispatches her opponent and then confirms that the rumors are true.

In participating at the London Olympics, Lepchenko will fulfill a lifelong dream and cap a journey that began a world away in her native Uzbekistan.

To read the full story

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Uzbek-Born Tennis Ace Chases Olympic Dream Under U.S. Flag

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