Road To The Olympic Games


Canada's Nestor, Pospisil lose Olympic bronze match

Jack Sock and Steve Johnson of the United States won bronze in men's doubles tennis, beating Canada's Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor in straight sets Friday in Rio.

Americans Sock, Johnson win bronze in straight sets; Spain's Nadal, Lopez win gold

Canadians Daniel Nestor, right, and Vasek Pospisil fell to Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States in their bronze match in men's doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

By Nick Murray, CBC Sports

Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock may be doubles partners on tour, but they found themselves on opposite sides of an Olympic medal match Friday in Rio.

Sock and fellow American Steve Johnson proved to be too much for Pospisil and Daniel Nestor, beating the Canadian pair to win the bronze medal in men's doubles tennis.

Sock and Johnson dominated the match, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.

Meanwhile Spain's Raphael Nadal and Marc Lopez won men's doubles gold, beating Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the final.

The Canadians never broke the serve of Sock and Johnson, who converted three of their own nine break chances while serving 81 per cent on first serve.

"Obviously, it doesn't feel so well, but hats off to them. They played very well, seeing the ball big and putting a lot of pressure on us. we couldn't match it," Nestor said.

"It's a little bit upsetting right now, ending in fourth place after being in a medal position yesterday and walking with nothing."

Nestor and Pospisil started on serve, but the Americans got the first break of the match in the third game after challenging an out call against them along the baseline, and after Nestor couldn't handle the Americans' return.

Sock and Johnson followed it up on Canada's next serve, getting into the driver seat up 4-1.

Sock later put the exclamation mark on the first set, firing an ace to take it 6-2 in 22 minutes.

Pospisil and Nestor showed some life to start the second set with Pospisil firing a smash on the very first point, and later the Canadians fought off two break points to take the first game.

Later in the set, the Canadians were in a hole love-40 on serve, but fought off another three break points to take the game and stay on serve up 2-1.

But Sock and Johnson would control the match two games later, breaking Pospisil and Nestor for a third time and putting the Canadians in a hole up 4-2 after winning their next service game.

On match point, Nestor couldn't handle Johnson's serve, sending the return wide, as Sock and Johnson earned the United States' third medal in as many years after winning gold at London 2012 and a bronze at Beijing 2008.

Nestor was trying for his second Olympic medal. He won gold with Sebastien Lareau in 2000.

Spain's Nadal, Lopez win doubles gold

Rafael Nadal added a second Olympic tennis gold medal to all of those Grand Slam trophies, teaming with Marc Lopez to win the men's doubles championship for Spain at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Nadal and Lopez came back from a break down in the third set and claimed the last three games to beat Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the final Friday.

"Amazing experience," Nadal said, "especially doing that with one of my best friends."

They've known each other since they were kids, first meeting in Barcelona when Nadal, who is four years younger, asked Lopez to play a set for fun. They joked about it at their news conference, agreeing that Lopez won 6-0, but trading good-natured barbs and chuckles because Lopez insisted Nadal was 14 at the time, while Nadal said he was only 12 and, therefore, couldn't possibly have had a fair chance.

"He was a phenom," Lopez recalled.

Nadal has gone on to collect 14 major championships, as well as an Olympic title in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games. This gold he got to share with Lopez, a first-time medalist.

The silver for Mergea and Tecau is the first tennis medal for Romania in Olympic history.

The bronze went to Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States. They beat the Canadian team of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4.

"It is going to be an incredible feeling for the rest of the summer, the rest of the year, for life," Sock said. "We are going to have this forever. It's something that we can share."

Sock and Pospisil won the 2014 Wimbledon doubles championship.

It was another busy day for Nadal, who won his singles quarterfinal in three sets earlier Friday and had been sidelined since withdrawing from the French Open with an injured left wrist.

"To win a gold medal today, after two and a half months with no practice, with no preparation at all, just working in the gym, is something not easy," he said.

Nadal does not play doubles often, focusing on a singles career that has included stints at No. 1 in the rankings and a record nine French Open titles. Of his nine previous tour doubles titles, four came with Lopez, although they hadn't played a match together this year until arriving in Brazil.

Lopez won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the French Open in June, pairing with Feliciano Lopez — they're not related — to beat American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in that final.

On Friday, the Romanians appeared to get the upper hand when they broke Marc Lopez to lead 4-3 in the final set. Lopez double-faulted to love-40, then hit a mediocre lob. Tecau's overhead was netted by Nadal.

But in the very next game, with Tecau serving, the Spanish duo broke right back. Mergea sailed a forehand long to set up a break point, then put a volley into the net, making it four-all.

After Nadal held for a 5-4 edge, the Spaniards broke again, converting their third match point when Mergea sent an overhead long.

Nadal and Lopez, both near the baseline, dropped their rackets and fell to the court, staying down for a few moments to enjoy the victory.

After the winners got up and shook hands with their opponents and the chair umpire, Nadal pulled Lopez in for a big hug.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press


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