Road To The Olympic Games

Tennis

Nestor, Pospisil survive 3-set thriller, Djokovic ousted

Canada's Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil are on to the second round in men's doubles at the Rio Olympics, surviving a three-set thriller over New Zealand's Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus.

Canadians fight off 2 match points in 3rd-set tiebreaker

Canada's Vasek Pospisil in his first round singles tennis match at the Olympic Tennis Centre of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In doubles action, Pospisil, and partner Daniel Nestor, survived a three-set thriller to advance to the second round. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

By Nick Murray, CBC Sports

Canada's men's doubles duo of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil had a scare in their first-round match at Rio 2016, but survived a three-set thriller, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) over New Zealand's Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus to advance to the second round.

Nestor and Pospisil found themselves down 5-6 in the third set, but held serve and forced the tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, the New Zealanders once again had the Canadians up against the ropes, with two match points at 4-6 and 5-6. But the Canucks from Toronto and Vancouver fought them off, winning the tie-breaker 8-6.  

Both teams each converted two break points, while New Zealand committed five unforced errors to Canada's four.

Pospisil, of Vernon B.C., and Toronto's Nestor, will play again Monday at 4 p.m., ET, against Portugal's Gastao Elias and Joao Sousa.

Top-ranked Djokovic upset in first round

On the men's singles side, Novak Djokovic's Olympic hopes are over.

The top-ranked Djokovic was swept out of the Olympic tennis tournament in the first round Sunday by the 2009 U.S. Open champion 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2). Because of three left wrist surgeries, del Potro is ranked just 145th in the world. But when the big Argentine is healthy and smacking his signature forehand around the court, his play is worthy of the gold-medal match.

It would be a forehand off the net cord that clinched victory on his second match point. The two shared a long embrace at the net, with both players left sobbing.

Despite the straight-set win, it wasn't an easy day by any means for del Potro, who was stuck in an elevator at the Athletes' Village for 40 minutes before his match, and was eventually rescued by members of Argentina's handball team, according to his publicist.

Djokovic and del Potro faced off for bronze in London four years ago, with del Potro winning. When he arrived at Wimbledon this year, though, he hadn't appeared at a major in 2 ½ years. He would upset fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka in the second round there, a hint that he might yet still have some greatness left in him.

Del Potro was just 20 when he rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to stun five-time defending champion Roger Federer in the U.S. Open final. With the way his forehand rocked Federer that day, more Grand Slam titles seemed certain for the young Argentine.

Then came a string of wrist injuries, first to the right, then the left — which the righty needs for his backhand. He was still slicing often Sunday, but the two-handed shot is beginning to look more comfortable. And with the way he was booming his serves and forehand, del Potro put the pressure on Djokovic from the start.

In the second-set tiebreaker, del Potro crushed two straight forehand winners on Djokovic's serve to take a 3-0 lead. It would be 5-0 before Djokovic scored a point.


With files from the Associated Press

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