Sisters Venus and Serena Williams (Lynwood, Calif.) defeated Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-0 to win their second gold medal in women's doubles play at the Olympic Green Tennis Center Sunday afternoon. The pair also won gold at 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
James Blake reacts after losing a point to Fernando Gonzalez. (Behrouz Mehri / Getty Images)
BEIJING -– The Olympic spirit has been broken for James Blake today at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre.
Throughout the tournament the former Harvard standout praised the virtues of what embodied the Olympic spirit. But following today’s hard-fought 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 semifinal loss to Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez, Blake left losing “a little faith in your fellow competitor.”
After holding serve to take s 9-8 lead in the deciding set, the eighth-seeded Blake hit a shot that was headed directly towards the 12th-seeded Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was close to the ball that landed out of bounds. However, it appeared the ball deflected off the handle of the Chilean’s racket and then fell out. The umpire ruled that the point in favor of Gonzalez, which enraged Blake.
Blake then raced to the chair umpire to plead his case. Replays show that the ball did graze the racket.
“Yeah, I hit a shot that hit Fernando’s racket and then went out,” said Blake. “The umpire didn’t see that it hit his racket. Playing in the Olympics, in what’s supposed to be considered a gentleman’s sport, that’s a time to call it on yourself. Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn’t call it.”
BEIJING – The Olympic spirit has been broken for James Blake.
During today’s hard-fought three-set loss to Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez of the semifinals of the Olympic tournament, Blake said Gonzalez violated a code as part of the gentleman portion of the game.
Serving at 8-9 of the final set, Gonzalez avoided a ball that was coming at him on the baseline. In the process, the ball apparently hit his racket a fell out.
The point went to Gonzalez as Blake raced to the chair umpire that the ball had hit the Chilean’s racket.
From that point on Blake was rattled and his chance to win his first major tournament ended with Gonzalez advancing to the finals with a 4-6, 7-5 11-9 victory.
Blake was attempting to be the first American to win a gold medal since 1996 when Andre Agassi won title during the Atlanta games.
Blake hadn’t beaten Gonzalez in his last six tries, last beating him in 2003 Paris Open
Harvard's James Blake scored his first career victory over Switzerland's Roger Federer and earned a berth in the semifinals of the 2008 Olympic Games tennis tournament. Blake, the No. 8 seed in the tournament, defeated No. 1 seed Federer 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Blake's semifinal opponent will be the winner of the match between France's Paul-Henri Mathieu and Fernando Gonzalez of Chile.
James Blake defeated Gilles Simon of France, 6-4 6-2, to advance in the men's singles action at the Olympic Green Tennis Center. He now moves to the quarterfinals, where he will face the tournament's No. 1 seed, Switzerland's Roger Federer.
Venus Williams scored a 6-3, 6-2 win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in women's singles play Wednesday evening at the Olympic Green Tennis Center. With the victory she advances to the quarterfinals, where she will face Li Na of China.
The Williams sisters recovered and advanced to the next round with a comeback victory against the Czechs 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
BEIJING -- Marc Spears and I decided to take in some tennis today and the Williams sisters are down a set in the second round of doubles competition against the Czech team of Benesova-Vadisova.
BEIJING -- Lindsay Davenport (Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Liezel Huber (Cypress, Texas) won their first round women’s doubles match against Poland’s Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska, 6-2, 6-1 at the Olympic Green Tennis Center Tuesday afternoon. Next up for the pair is winner of the match between Estonia's Maret Ani and Kaia Kanepi and Victoria Azarenka and Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus.
BEIJING -- Venus Williams advanced to the third round of the 2008 Olympic Games women's tennis tournament with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic at the Olympic Green Tennis Center Tuesday afternoon. Her next opponent will be the winner of the Casey Dellacqua (Australia)-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) match.
BEIJING -- Serena Williams (Lynwood, Calif.) advanced to the third round of women’s singles today when she defeated Samantha Stosur of Australia, 6-2, 6-0, in 44 minutes. Seeded fourth, Williams will meet No. 15 seed Alize Cornet of France in the Round of 16. Cornet defeated China’s Shuai Peng today, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 1 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan (Camarillo, Calif.) won their first round singles match over Mark Knowles and Devin Mullings of the Bahamas, 6-2, 6-1, today in 52 minutes. They will face either 2004 silver medalists Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuttler of Germany or Austria’s Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer in the second round.
Jill Craybas (Providence, R.I.) lost her first round women’s singles match to No. 13 seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-2.
BEIJING -- American Natalie Coughlin just won the gold medal in the women's 100 backstroke. American Margaret Hoelzer earned the bronze.
BEIJING -- In her Olympic singles debut, Serena Williams (Lynwood, Calif.) defeated Olga Govortsova of Belarus, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre. The match was suspended yesterday due to rain with Williams leading 6-3, 2-1. Williams won four straight games today to close out the match.
Williams' next opponent will be Samantha Stosur of Australia, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Sara Errani of Italy in opening-round play.
BEIJING -- Former Harvard standout James Blake advanced to the second round of the tennis competition after defeating Australia's Chris Guucione 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) on Centre Court. He will next face the winner of the Dominik Hrbaty and Thomaz Bellucci match.
Look for contributions from the following Globe Staffers in Beijing:
- John Powers
- Shira Springer
- Bob Ryan
- Marc J. Spears
- Gregory Lee
- Scott LaPierre
- Patricia Wen