Posted tagged ‘Fernando Gonzalez’

Spain’s Rafael Nadal Wins Olympic Gold in Tennis

August 18, 2008

Rafael Nadal, soon to be the number one ranked tennis player in the world, won the tennis gold medal on Sunday, overcoming two set points in the second set and holding every service game to beat Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

From the Associated Press:

The gold medal was the first ever for Spain in Olympic tennis, and another milestone in an astounding summer surge by Nadal, who will officially end Roger Federer‘s 4½-year reign atop the rankings Monday. Nadal has won 38 of his past 39 matches, including victories over Federer in the finals at the French Open and Wimbledon.

“Nowhere in my best dreams I can imagine something like what I did this year,” Nadal said. “I know how difficult it is to win these things, and especially here, because you only have one chance every four years.”

Men’s singles has traditionally been an upset-filled event at the Olympics, and Nadal is the first player ranked in the top five to win the gold. He stayed in the athletes’ village and said the experience rejuvenated him.

The only thing that could have made this better for NBC and the Olympics is if the final had featured a Nadal/Roger Federer final. These two athletes have had some great matches over the past year and it would have been a fitting match up for the gold medal. Thoughts?

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James Blake Rips Opponent Following Olympic Tennis Loss

August 15, 2008

After an impressive upset of Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, James Blake fell to Fernando Gonzalez in today’s Olympic Semifinal in Beijing. But the loss was not the story which came out of the match. It seems that Blake doesn’t believe that his opponent played fair and was very visibly upset with the outcome.

From the Associated Press:

Blake came up one shot short Friday, losing in the semifinal to Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 4-6, 7-5, 11-9. Afterward he accused Gonzalez of failing to fess up on a disputed point two games before the finish.

“I’ve spoken all week about how much I’ve enjoyed the Olympic experience, how much I love the spirit of it,” Blake said. “That’s a disappointing way to exit the tournament, when you not only lose the match, but you lose a little faith in your fellow competitor.”

Actually, the No. 8-seeded Blake remains in the tournament. A first-time Olympian at 28, he’ll play for a bronze Saturday as the last hope for a U.S. medal in men’s or women’s singles.

The incident that upset Blake occurred with Gonzalez serving at 8-9 in the final set. On the first point, Blake hit a backhand passing shot long but contended the ball ticked Gonzalez’s racket before landing, as TV replays confirmed.

Blake appealed in vain to the chair umpire, and said Gonzalez should have conceded the point. Blake went on to lose the game to make it 9-all.

Blake described Gonzalez as a great player who does everything in his power to win, “usually” within the rules.

Gonzalez will play in Sunday’s final against favorite Rafael Nadal, who clinched his first Olympic medal today by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

Blake and Gonzalez played the their match on center court and from the beginning, there appeared to be tension between the players. In the second set, Gonzalez slammed an easy forehand at his opponent’s head from point-blank range. Those in attendance stated that Blake glared at Gonzalez, who quickly apologized.

Hard to say what actually happened on the court today but it’s unfortunate that Blake may be remembered for this, rather than the tremendous run he had in the tournament and his upset of Federer. Time will tell how this plays out in the coming days. Thoughts?

James Blake Upsets Top Seeded Roger Federer

August 14, 2008

Top Seeded Roger Federer‘s bid for his first Olympic singles medal ended today when he lost to James Blake in the quarterfinals 6-4, 7-6. The eighth seeded Blake had been 0-8 lifetime versus Federer going into the match and Federer was seeking his first Olympic medal after losing in the semifinals in Sydney in 2000 and in the second round in Athens in 2004.

From ESPN:

Blake’s victory was a stunner in that he had won only a single set in eight previous matches against Federer. But the top-seeded Federer has been battling a yearlong slump that has left him stalled at 12 major titles, two shy of Pete Sampras’ record.

His Wimbledon reign ended last month, and he came to Beijing knowing he would lose the No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal next week after 4½ years on top.

From USA Today:

Federer had spoken openly about his plan to salvage the season by claiming a gold medal, but now his last chance is in New York at the U.S. Open, where he is the four-time defending champion.

Federer’s latest defeat means no rematch in Sunday’s final against Nadal, who won in epic fashion when they met for the Wimbledon title.

Blake’s semifinal matchup will either be against Chilean Fernando Gonzalez or Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu. This is an exciting upset for Blake who had never been able to find a way to defeat Federer in his career up to this point. What a stage to finally breakthrough! This is also a devastating loss for Federer who is having a very rough 2008, following his epic battles with Rafael Nadal at the past two majors.