Nadal wins Olympic gold, beating Gonzalez

August 17th, 2008 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Rafael Nadal
Beijing, Aug 17 (DPA) Spanish Rafael Nadal’s reign at the top of the tennis rankings, dethroning Roger Federer, will begin on euphoric note Monday after he became the Olympic champion, beating Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez in three sets in the final Sunday. Nadal, who will replace Federer at the top of the rankings Monday, won 6-3, 7-6 (7-2),6-3 in two hours 22 minutes.

Federer, who topped the rankings for 239 consecutive weeks, was beaten by James Blake in the quarter-finals, but paid a tribute to Nadal.

“He is just playing out of this world at the moment and deserves to be number one,” he said. There was some consolation for the Swiss after winning the doubles with his friend Stanilas Wawrinka Saturday, beating Swedes Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in four sets.

Prince Felipe was amongst the 10,000 spectators in the stadium Sunday who saw Nadal dominate proceedings and fall to the ground in jubilation as he won the last point.

Gonzalez won bronze in the singles in Athens and gold four years ago in the doubles with Nicolas Massu.

The women’s singles turned into an all-Russian affair, with Elena Dementieva beating compatriot Dinara Safina 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, while Vera Zvonareva took bronze against local player Li Na 6-0, 7-5.

“That is the best thing that has happened to me in my life and my career,” the 26-year-old Dementieva said.

The Williams sisters Serena and Venus gave America the gold in the women’s doubles, beating the Spanish pair of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-0.

Venus Williams, who together with her sister also won gold in Sydney in 2000, said that she was just happy. “I am speechless,” she said after the victory against the Spanish pair that won the French Open earlier this year.

It was the second defeat in a final for the 34-year-old Ruano Pascual, who lost against the Chinese pair of Ting Li and Tian Tian Sun in Athens.

The bronze medal went to Yan Zi and Zheng Jie, who beat the Ukrainian sister-pair of Alona and Kateryna Bonderenko.

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