Olympic Tennis - Medals Awarded
Four countried shared the gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Tennis event. Rafael Nadal of Spain won a first-ever gold medal for Spain in Olympic Tennis, while Russia took the Women's Singles for the first time through Elena Dementieva. Serena Williams and Venus Williams of the United States and Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland completed a top-ranking group of gold medallists. Russia won the most medals of any nation, taking all three medals in the Women's Singles, while Spain and USA took home two medals each.
Nadal won an Olympic Games gold medal one day before he officially becomes the No. 1 player in the world. He beat Athens hero Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3 at the Olympic Green Tennis Center on Sunday, August 17. Nadal's gold medal performance sweetens an already-incredible year in which the 22-year-old won his fourth consecutive French Open crown and his first Wimbledon title, both victories over then World No. 1, Roger Federer. Nadal is the highest-ranked player to win the Olympic Men's Singles title. Before these Games, no player in the top five had won this event.
"Not in my best dreams could I have imagined this," Nadal said immediately after winning gold.
Gonzalez collected a third Olympic medal, adding to his Singles bronze and Doubles gold from the Athens 2004 Games. Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who lost to Nadal in the semifinals, delivered a first-ever Tennis medal for Serbia, when he defeated Blake in the bronze Medal match. James Blake of the United States produced the major upset of the event, scoring his first win in nine matches against outgoing World No. 1 Federer in the quarterfinals. There were also early defeats for No. 4 seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, who lost to Paul-Henri Mathieu of France in the second round, fifth seed Ferrer and sixth seed Andy Murray of Great Britain, who fell in the first round.
Russia dominated the Women's Singles, producing the first Olympic Games Tennis clean sweep since 1908. Elena Dementieva of Russia added gold to the silver that she won in Sydney when she defeated Dinara Safina of Russia 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the final to become the first Russian winner of this title. "This is the biggest achievement in my career," she said. "I was eight years old and dreaming about this moment." Dementieva became one of four women to win a medal in the Singles at more than one Olympics, along with Kathleen Mckane of Great Britain, Steffi Graf of German and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain.
Safina was gunning for her third title in a row but her unbeaten streak of 15 matches ended in the final and she had to settle for the silver in her first Olympic Games. Vera Zvonareva of Russia picked herself up after a narrow semifinal loss to Dementieva on Saturday, August 16 to deny China a first medal in this event. She beat Li Na of China 6-0, 7-5 in the bronze medal match. Li was the surprise of the tournament, defeating two of the world's top 10 - Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in the first round and 2000 gold medallist Venus Williams in the quarterfinals - en route to the semifinals.
Federer and fellow top 10 Singles star Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland had a surprise 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory over unseeded veterans Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the Men's Doubles final. Federer was clearly looking for gold in the Singles but turned his focus to the Doubles event after losing to Blake in the quarterfinals. Winning Doubles gold was the highlight of Federer's year and it brought tears to his eyes when the medal was draped around his shoulders and the Swiss National Anthem was played. The No. 4 seeded Federer and Wawrinka combination delivered a second Olympic medal to Switzerland. Marc Rosset of Switzerland won Singles gold at the Barcelona 1992 Games. Aspelin and Johansson are the first Swedish players to capture a silver medal since 1912 when Carl Kempe and Gunnar Setterwall took silver in the Men's Doubles and Setterwall combined with Sigrid Fick to win the Mixed Doubles silver in Stockholm. Top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the United States were hoping for gold but walked away satisfied with bronze after a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over unseeded French team Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra
Second seeds Serena Williams and Venus Williams captured their second career Olympic gold medal in the Women's Doubles with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over fourth seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain. The Williams sisters also scored gold in Doubles at the Sydney 2000 Games and Venus Williams won the Singles gold in Sydney as well, which makes her the only female Tennis player to win three Olympic gold medals. Americans have won the Women's Doubles title at five of the six Olympic Games since Tennis was reintroduced at Seoul 1988. Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual won Spain's fourth Women's Doubles medal since 1988. This is Ruano Pascual's second successive silver medal in the discipline. She won the silver with Conchita Martinez of Spain at the 2004 Athens Games. A Chinese pairing won a medal in Women's Doubles for the second consecutive Olympic Games when Yan Zi and Zheng Jie claimed bronze after defeating sisters Alona Bondarenko and Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-2, 6-2. At the Athens 2004 Games Li Ting and Sun Tiantian of China won gold to give China its first medal in Olympic Tennis.
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