Federer wins first Olympic medal

The Swiss duo of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka beat Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson of Sweden to clinch doubles gold at Beijing.

updated: August 22, 2008 09:08 IST
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Roger Federer took out his frustrations on the doubles court as he claimed Olympic gold with partner Stanislas Wawrinka on Saturday.

The Swiss ace and world number 10 Wawrinka pummelled Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 as Federer claimed his first Olympic medal in three attempts.

Federer, who loses his number one ranking on Monday and was upset in the singles by James Blake, was vigorously pumped up for the final and roared in Swiss German at every important point.

The Swedes had won a record 59-game marathon in the semis and they did not come to life until the third set. The Swiss immediately broke back but wilted in the tense tie-break as Wawrinka netted on the second set point.

But the decisive break came at 2-1 on Aspelin's serve. With Federer serving for the match, Johansson hit a return wide sparking delirious scenes between the Swiss pair who hugged and cavorted on the floor.

Earlier Novak Djokovic claimed Serbia's first ever tennis medal while the giant-killing run of China's Li Na came shuddering to a halt.

Djokovic won a slug-fest with US number one James Blake 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) to clinch men's singles bronze, compensating for his disappointing semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal.

"To win any medal in the Olympics is a huge achievement for any athlete. Not many athletes get a chance to win a medal," Djokovic said.

"But for me, this bronze shines like a gold because I think I've played pretty good tennis all the tournament."

Dinara Safina ousted Li 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 to set up an all-Russian final with 2000 silver-medallist Elena Dementieva, who beat compatriot Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

The results guarantee the dominant Russians their first women's tennis gold to follow Yevgeny Kafelnikov's Sydney 2000 triumph for the men.

Highly decorated US twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the top seeds, clinched their first Olympic honour 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 against France's Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in the men's doubles bronze medal play-off.

Sydney 2000 champions Venus and Serena Williams reached the women's doubles final by beating Ukraine's Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the only all-sister match-up in Olympic history.

They will face Spanish duo Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, who ended Chinese hopes of a second successive doubles gold by beating Yan Zi and Zheng Jie 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).

In the men's singles match, Djokovic got the crucial first-set break at 2-1 and took the lead with a service winner.

Neither player was struggling on serve but they couldn't break either, and they were well-matched in the tie-break until a let cord helped Djokovic set up two match points.

As Blake blazed long, the 21-year-old Djokovic collapsed to his knees in delight and then brandished the Serbian flag on court.

It was Serbia's first Olympic tennis medal and their second success of the day after Milorad Cavic's silver in the 100m butterfly swimming behind Michael Phelps.

But the result meant further frustration for Blake, who earlier beat Federer but was livid after his semi-final with Fernando Gonzalez, accusing him of bad sportsmanship.

Thousands of fans had packed Centre Court to watch Li, ranked 43, who rode a wave of home support to reach the last four.

But Safina shrugged off the noise to snatch the first set with a monster second serve. Serving to stay in it, Li crumbled, netting to set up three match points and handing over a place in the final after a long rally.

Li had already made history as the first Chinese player to reach the last eight of an Olympic singles event, stunning Russian third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and Wimbledon champion Venus Williams along the way.