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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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2008 Olympics

Blake tops Australia's Guccione, Williams delayed

Story Highlights
  • American tennis player Blake won his first match in the second set
  • Heavy rain caused delays in 36 matches
  • Serena Williams' match was suspended in the second set





BEIJING (AP) -- American James Blake has won the first match in Olympic tennis, erasing a set point in the second set and beating Chris Guccione of Australia 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Rain twice interrupted the second center-court match involving Serena Williams. After a 21/2-hour delay, play was suspended for the day with Williams leading Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-3, 2-1.
Among those who didn't get on court Sunday was top-seeded Roger Federer, who was to play Dmitry Tursunov of Russia. Nine matches were completed, 10 suspended and 26 postponed, which means a heavy backlog for the tournament.
Williams was making her Olympic singles debut. She won a gold medal in doubles in 2000 with her sister Venus.



http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...p/?eref=sircrc

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

Slamming Sam eyeing off Serena



10th August 2008, 17:30 WST






Samantha Stosur was relishing the prospect of a second-round showdown with American superstar Serena Williams but fellow Australian Chris Guccione bombed out on a rain-marred opening day of the Olympic tennis tournament.
Stosur outclassed Italy’s Sara Errani 6-3 6-2 to keep her twin medal hopes alive after Guccione succumbed 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to American eighth seed James Blake in his first-round match.
While Guccione was left to focus on the men’s doubles with Davis Cup teammate Lleyton Hewitt, Stosur was eyeing a dream encounter with Williams, the women’s fourth seed and eight-times grand slam champion.
Williams was leading Belarussian Olga Govortsova 6-3 2-1 when the two players scampered off centre court for a third time as a nasty thunderstorm brewed in Beijing.
Stosur had little doubt Williams would eventually prevail to confirm their Tuesday date.
“Obviously it’s going to be a tough one, but why not play one of the best in the world here while representing your country,” said Stosur, who is also partnering Rennae Stubbs in the women’s doubles.
“I’m just really happy to be out there again and I’ll certainly be going for it and hopefully I’ll play some good tennis.”
Guccione had a chance to force his match with Blake into a deciding set but sliced a backhand approach marginally long at set point with the world No.8 serving at 5-6, 30-40 in the second set.
“Wasn’t much in it,” Guccione lamented.
“Who knows what would happen if the chip went in. I’m in a good position in that point and if I sneak the second set, it’s one set for a win so, yeah, unlucky.”
Guccione and Hewitt were scheduled to play Argentines Agustin Calleri and Juan Monaco in the first round of the doubles later tonight weather permitting, but flash lightning and heavy rain had thrown the entire evening session in doubt.
Three more Australians will be in first-round singles action tomorrow, with Hewitt taking on Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman, Alicia Molik facing Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Casey Dellacqua up against Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

http://www.thewest.com.au/default.as...ontentID=90377

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

Serena's Olympic advance kept on hold by rain


BEIJING (AFP) — Number four seed Serena Williams was kept waiting for victory in her rain-hit first round Olympic Games match against tournament debutant Olga Govortsova of Belarus on Sunday.
The eight-time Grand Slam champion, a doubles gold medallist from Sydney with sister Venus but who was making her debut in Olympic singles after missing Athens with a knee injury, led the 47th-ranked Govortsova 6-3, 2-1, when heavy rain forced all action to be cancelled until Monday.
Only nine of 45 scheduled ties were completed in a rain-disrupted day at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre, an all-open venue where the start of play in the morning had already been delayed by two hours because of steady rain.
Organisers made the decision to postpone all remaining matches at 6.55 pm (10:55GMT) after further downpours.
In her match against Govortsova, Williams raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first set, but the Belarussian made the American former world number one work hard for her points.
Although Williams broke again to take an ominous 5-1 lead, Govortsova rebounded to break and then hold serve on her own game.
The Belarussian had break point in the next game but Williams held her nerve to win a cracking rally for deuce before play was interrupted for 30 minutes by rain.
Williams survived a second breakpoint to win the first set 6-3 when play resumed, and broke Govortsova in the first game of the second set.
The set stood at 2-1 in Williams' favour when heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, saw the players scurry off court.
In earlier first round matches, Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki beat Selima Sfar of Tunisia 6-4, 6-1, and Australian Samantha Stosur overcame Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-2.
Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova went through to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Poland's Marta Domachowska.
Joining her will be Italy's Francesca Schiavone, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...ueBtzy-ZM160Zg

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

A Beijing Spygate?


Citizen News Services

Published: Saturday, August 09, 2008
Venus and Serena Williams yesterday brushed off fears that spies could be monitoring their Olympic training sessions. The sisters, among the favourites in both singles and doubles, said they had seen nothing untoward while practising here. "We don't know. We just follow that yellow ball, we don't look around," Serena said. "We're out there, we've been practising the last two days together. The only thing I see is the ball or whoever I'm practising with at the time. I don't know who's watching or who's not watching." Spying allegations have rocked previous events in China, with Denmark accusing the hosts of filming a team meeting and training session during last year's Women's soccer World Cup

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/...9-cea889f320a3

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Re: 2008 Olympics

Serena Williams, Federer Open Olympic Play Sunday


Posted on August 9, 2008

Olympic debutants Chris Guccione and James Blake will meet for the first time in the opening match on Centre Court.



With top-ranked American Andy Roddick not playing in Beijing, No. 8 seed James Blake is carrying US hopes for an Olympic medal in men’s singles. Although he has yet to win a title this year, all ten of Blake’s career singles titles have been won on hard court. He is undefeated on hard court when playing for his country in Davis Cup.

Blake’s opponent, the 2.01m (6’7”) lefthander Guccione, is ranked No. 90 in the world. World No. 1 Roger Federer will begin his Olympic campaign against tough opponent Dmitry Tursunov in the highlight of the evening session on Centre Court. Federer played in the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Games, but has yet to win an Olympic medal. He lost the bronze medal play-off in Sydney to Arnaud Di Pasquale.

Athens 2004 men’s singles bronze medallist Fernando Gonzalez, seeded No. 12, is expected to have an easier match against home hope Sun Peng in the morning session on Court 1. Sun is ranked No. 453 in the world. Gonzalez was Chile’s flagbearer at Friday’s Opening Ceremony.

Fifth seed David Ferrer takes on Janko Tipsarevic, whom he has defeated in their previous two meetings. Tipsarevic hit the headlines at this year’s Australian Open when he pushed Federer to five sets in their third-round meeting.

Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis enters the Beijing Games with a career-high ranking of No. 38 after a breakthrough season. He meets world No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko first up on Court 2. Gulbis appeared in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at this year’s French Open, while Davydenko has made up for his lack of impact at the 2008 Grand Slam tournaments by winning three other titles this year.

No. 4 seed Serena Williams plays the first women’s match on Centre Court. The eight-time Grand Slam champion faces Olga Govortsova, who is making her Olympic debut. Williams is also playing singles at an Olympic Games for the first time, having missed Athens with a knee injury, but she won the women’s doubles gold in Sydney with her sister Venus. Govortsova is currently ranked No. 47. She reached her first final at Memphis in February and rose to a career-high ranking of No. 35 on 23 June this year.

The first match of the evening session on Centre Court pits No. 3 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova against one of the four Chinese women in the singles draw – Li Na. Kuznetsova has won three of the four previous meetings, including both their hard court match-ups; all except one of their matches to date have gone to three sets. Li is playing just her third tournament after a four-month absence due to a right knee injury.

No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic tests her right calf injury, which forced her to miss practice on Friday, against Cara Black. Jankovic will become the new No. 1 in singles on Monday and she should progress against Black, the joint No. 1 doubles player in the world, who rarely plays singles. This is just her second main draw appearance of the year but she did play singles in both Sydney and Athens.

Two more Chinese women look to give the host nation a good start to the tennis event on Court 1. In the day session, Peng Shuai plays Carla Suarez-Navarro and will hope to avenge her defeat in their only previous meeting in the Fed Cup semifinal in April, in which Spain defeated China 3-2. Yan Zi has a tougher task against No. 9 seed Vera Zvonareva, one of the four Russians among the top 10 seeds in this event, in the first match of the evening session on this court.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

Olympics Are A Family Affair For Venus, Serena Williams



August 8, 2008 8:51 p.m. EST
Matt Aug - AHN Sports Editor
Beijing, China (AHN) - It's a good thing that Venus and Serena Williams get along relatively well, as the pair of tennis standouts will work together as doubles partners at the Olympics.
They could also go racket-to-racket again in another singles classic.
This is the second go-around for the Williams sisters at the Olympics, as Serena won the singles title in 2000 and the pair took gold in doubles play.
The duo has one other thing to overcome, however, as both Williams are suffering with knee injuries.
The path to a possible singles final between the Williams sisters got a little clearer Friday, as Lindsay Davenport withdrew because of her own knee ailment.
Liezel Huber and Davenport could still team up in doubles to provide a stiff test for the Williams tandem.
The same strength the Williams sisters displayed in combining for seven grand slam titles could be too much for any other team to overcome, however.

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7011881488

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

Williams sisters bid for multiple medals


By The Associated Press
Posted Friday, August 8, 2008 3:11 AM ET
BEIJING (AP) - Seated side by side amid a roomful of strangers, Venus and Serena Williams exchanged glances and giggles like a couple of kids in the back of an elementary school class.
Instead they were front and center at an Olympic news conference Friday. The sisters' unique relationship has long played out on the world stage, and in Beijing they're U.S. teammates, doubles partners and potential opponents in the singles final.
Venus and Serena have made the Olympics a family affair once before - at the 2000 Games in Sydney. They became the first siblings to win the doubles, and Venus also won the singles to join 1924 champion Helen Wills as the only women to sweep both titles.
There were no milestones for the sisters four years later in Athens. Serena missed those games because of a knee injury, and Venus lost in the third round.
In Beijing, they're together again.
"Being here with Serena is so much fun," Venus said. "In Sydney we had a blast. In Athens I didn't have as much fun because she wasn't there. It completes everything for me to have her here."
There were doubts as to whether the sisters would be healthy enough to make the trip, because both are nursing knee injuries. Venus' most recent match was the victory over her sister in the Wimbledon final five weeks ago, and Serena hasn't played since retiring from the semifinals July 19 in Stanford, Calif.
When Venus was asked if she's concerned about her knee holding up on Beijing's hard courts, she said: "I'm blocking that out - mind over matter."
Said Serena: "I'm working on just getting better, and everything is going to be looking good."
Teammate Lindsay Davenport withdrew from singles Friday because of a lingering knee injury that has sidelined her since late June. She still hopes to play doubles with Liezel Huber, and they could meet the No. 2-seeded Williams sisters in the final.
Even with the sisters involved, doubles matches are usually relegated to outer courts, where crowds are small. But when Olympic tennis begins Sunday, the Williams-Williams partnership will be among the main attractions.
Doubles also offers the best medal hope for the U.S. men, with Bob and Mike Bryan seeded No. 1.
"In the Olympics the singles and the doubles are the same, because a gold medal is a gold medal," Venus said.
She and Serena have been partners in only four tournaments since the summer of 2003, but they've combined for seven Grand Slam titles, most recently at this year's Wimbledon only hours after their singles final.
Williams-Williams have never worried much about doubles tactics, instead relying on thunderclap strokes.
"They're always tough to play against because they're powerful, even though they're not really quite doing doubles movements," said Olympian Ai Sugiyama, who lost to the sisters at this year's Australian Open. "At the net they're just standing there instead of moving or crossing or poaching. But they're tall, and their quality of serves and strokes is great."
At Sydney the sisters were so overpowering their semifinal opponents from Belgium abandoned the net to avoid dealing with Williams volleys from point-blank range.
"We had such a great time in Sydney," Venus said. "We felt like we couldn't miss, and we didn't."
The sisters' domination of singles on the women's tour began a year later. They met in a Grand Slam final for the first time at the 2001 U.S. Open, and that was part of a stretch where Venus or Serena won seven of nine major singles titles.
Venus won Wimbledon for the fifth time this year, increasing to seven her total of Grand Slam singles titles. Serena has won eight majors but ranks her Olympic medal in doubles as her top achievement.
"It was never my goal to play the Olympics," Serena said. "Growing up it was like Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and winning Grand Slams. But when I did win that gold medal, it's definitely my best trophy I have by far. I'm like Carl Lewis and Jackie Joyner-Kersee and thinking of all these wonderful athletes that did win Olympic gold medals. You're one of the few that have, and it was really cool."
Venus agreed.
"It has been beyond my dreams to play the Olympics," she said. "It takes awhile to set in. A few years after you win you're like, 'Wait a minute, this is my gold. Oh, my gosh, yes.'"

http://www.nbcolympics.com/tennis/ne...id=183485.html

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

Williams sisters shrug off spying fears


BEIJING (AFP) — Venus and Serena Williams on Friday brushed off fears that spies could be monitoring their Olympic training sessions.
The sisters, among the favourites in both singles and doubles, said they had seen nothing untoward while practising here.
"We don't know. We just follow that yellow ball, we don't look around," said Serena in response to question.
"We're out there, we've been practising the last two days together. The only thing I see is the ball or whoever I'm practising with at the time," she added.
"I don't know who's watching or who's not watching."
Spying allegations have rocked previous events in China with Denmark accusing the hosts of filming a team meeting and training session during last year's Women's football World Cup.
The Williams are in search of their second doubles gold after 2000, when Venus also took the singles title.
They are seeded fifth in the doubles competition, which was won by China's Li Ting and Sun Tiantian four years ago.
Serena has amassed eight Grand Slam titles but lost last month's Wimbledon final to her sister. She said she was highly motivated for the Games and rated them more important than the US Open, which starts on August 25.
"I love playing for my country first of all. This is the Olympics and out of all the trophies I have the gold medal is really the favourite," she said.
"This is a life-changing and life-altering experience to be around so many fabulous athletes that are able to take their games and various sports to the ultimate level.
"It doesn't get better than this so it was a no-brainer it is close to the US Open, but this is for me the biggest thing."
Both sisters said they were carrying knee injuries but gave no indication they would pull out. Former Olympic champion Lindsay Davenport announced her sudden withdrawal with a knee problem on Friday.
"I'm doing much better now. I'm blocking that out -- mind over matter," Venus said.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...00vsu2w_y76cOA

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2008, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

Serena, Venus Williams are best hope for a U.S. medal in tennis




[COLOR=#333333! important]They are seeded fourth and seventh, respectively in the women's draw, which mean they can't play each other until the gold-medal match.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#999999! important]Bill Dwyre
August 7, 2008 [/COLOR]
BEIJING -- Sisters Serena and Venus Williams, among the United States' best hope for a tennis medal at the Beijing Games, were seeded fourth and seventh, respectively, in Thursday's draw. That placement meant they cannot play each other until the final.

The tournament begins here Sunday.

The Williams sisters, who won the gold medal in doubles in 2000 in Sydney, the same year Venus won gold in singles, are seeded No. 2 in doubles.

For the U.S. men, the best medal hope is the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, who are seeded No. 1.

In men's singles, Switzerland's Roger Federer, still ranked No. 1 in the world as of the Aug. 4 cutoff for the Olympics draw, will be top-seeded as he attempts to win for the first time in three tries. The prospect of a rematch of his classic final against Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal of Spain remains one of the leading attractions of the Games, and with Nadal seeded second, their only meeting can be in the final.

With U.S. players Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish opting to skip the Olympics -- instead playing this week in the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles -- the U.S. men will have three players, led by No. 8-seeded James Blake. Also playing for the U.S. are Sam Querrey and Robby Ginepri. Ginepri drew No. 3 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the first round.

Other women playing for the U.S. in singles are former gold medalist Lindsay Davenport (1996, Atlanta) and veteran Jill Craybas. Davenport will also play doubles, teaming with Leizel Huber.

In men's doubles, Blake will play with Querrey. Federer and Nadal will also play doubles, Federer seeded fourth with Stanislaw Wawrinka and Nadal sixth with Tommy Robredo.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-spw...6631981.column

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Re: 2008 Olympics

Women's Tennis draw released

Updated: 2008-08-07 15:52:48

(BEIJING, August 7) -- Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia was handed potentially the toughest task of the top seeds in the first round of the Women's Singles event in the draw on August 7.
The third-seeded Russian was drawn to play Li Na from China, who although currently ranked No.43 largely due to inactivity from a recent knee injury, has been ranked as high as No. 16 in the past, and will enjoy huge home support.
Top seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and her compatriot Jelena Jankovic, who is seeded No.2, were given seemingly straightforward first-round tasks against Ukrainian Marina Korytsseva and Cara Black of Zimbabwe respectively.
No.4 seed Serena Williams from the United States will make her Olympic singles debut against Olga Govortsova from Belarus while her sister, Sydney 2000 gold medalist Venus Williams of the US, seeded No.7, faces Timea Bacszinsky of Switzerland in the singles first round, which will take place on Sunday, August 10 and Monday, August 11.
Elena Dementieva of Russia, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2000 final in Sydney is seeded No.5 currently, will begin her third Olympic campaign against Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko while the in-form Russian Dinara Safina, the No.7 seed, begins against Italian Mara Santangelo.
Two Olympic tennis medalists were drawn to face each other in the first round when Atlanta 1996 champion Lindsay Davenport of the United States takes on Athens 2004 bronze medalist Australian Alicia Molik.
Looking ahead, Ivanovic is projected to meet Olympic newcomer Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the quarterfinals, while Serena Williams could face Dementieva in the other top half quarterfinal if they both advance that far.
In the bottom half of the draw, Venus Williams could have a quarterfinal meeting with Kuznetsova with Safina potentially playing Jankovic in the final eight.
Kuznetsova and Safina are also top seeds in the Women's Doubles event. The Russian team have a tough draw with a potential quarterfinal against the Chinese two-time Grand Slam champions Yan Zi and Zheng Jie and a projected semifinal against French Open champions Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual from Spain, or Davenport and Liezel Huber of the US.
The Williams sisters are seeded to possibly meet the Russians in the final with their toughest obstacle likely to be 2007 Australian Open champions Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung of Chinese Taipei or Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko from the Ukraine, who won at the Australian Open in Melbourne this year.

http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/sports...14512257.shtml

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2008, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

August 13, 2008 11:36am








Stosur: I'll serve it up to Williams



August 11th, 2008
SAMANTHA Stosur set up a likely second-round clash with Serena Williams after sweeping to victory yesterday.
The Gold Coaster overcame heavy humidity to down Italian Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 before the first round match for Sydney gold medallist Williams was delayed by rain.
Recovered from Lyme Disease, Stosur was elated with her form, but Chris Guccione was left deflated by a first-round defeat at the hands of American James Blake.
"I actually played really well today," said Stosur.
"Generally I don't think these sort of conditions -- the heaviness -- would suit me so much.
"But I think with the way she played, we played a similar style.
"So we were both trying to get the ball up and I just managed to do it a little bit better.
"I thought I played really well."
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Stosur has made an encouraging comeback to competition and welcomes the chance to measure her form against former world No.1 Williams.
"Obviously it's going to be a tough one but, hey, why not?" she enthused.
"Play one of the best in the world and represent your country, so really happy to be out there again and I get another chance. I'll certainly be going for it and hopefully I'll play some good tennis."
Guccione was eliminated 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) by American eighth seed Blake, despite hitting 11 aces.
"He (Blake) came up with some good passes at crucial times," said Guccione.
"One of my goals was to get into his backhand and see what he could do.
"Unfortunately for me, he came up with some great passes."
Blake agreed, saying that Guccione's tactics misfired.
"At times it was effective, but when it came down to crunch time, in the breaker, I hit two pretty big backhand passing shots I think, and put every return I got a look at back," said Blake.
Guccione's hopes of Beijing success now rest with his doubles partnership with Lleyton Hewitt. Athens singles bronze medallist Alicia Molik pairs with Casey Dellacqua for the first time, leaving Stosur to partner Rennae Stubbs. Doubles specialists Paul Hanley and Jordon Kerr make their Olympic debuts against Swedes Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson.

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/...top-story.html

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2008, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

Nadal, Serena Williams win Olympic singles debuts

By STEVEN WINE –
BEIJING (AP) — Rafael Nadal made a successful debut in Olympic singles Monday, overcoming numerous missed chances by sweeping the final four games to beat Potito Starace of Italy 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
Seeded second, Nadal will supplant Roger Federer atop the rankings next week, regardless of the outcome at the Olympics. Federer was to play his opening match later Monday.
Serena Williams won all four games when her match resumed after an overnight wait to complete a rain-interrupted victory over Olga Govortsova of Belarus, 6-3, 6-1.
Like Nadal, Williams was playing her first singles match at the Olympics. She won a gold medal in doubles in 2000 with her sister Venus.
No. 6 Dinara Safina of Russia won her 11th match in a row by beating Mara Santangelo of Italy 6-3, 7-6 (1). Safina has won her past two tournaments.
Nicolas Massu of Chile opened his bid to repeat as Olympic champion by beating Steve Darcis of Belgium 6-4, 7-5. Massu won the gold at Athens in both singles and doubles.
No. 7-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina defeated Zeng Shaoxuan of China 6-2, 6-1. Chinese men finished the tournament 0-3.
Nadal struggled on the backhand side for most of his match, and shook his head or rolled his eyes when usually reliable strokes misfired.
He failed to convert seven consecutive break-point opportunities before he broke for a 4-2 lead in the final set. He erased a 15-40 deficit on his serve in the next game, then broke again for the victory.
A highlight-reel shot got him going early in the third set. Nadal sprinted into the alley near the net in pursuit of a ball and scooped a forehand winner cross-court as he braked to avoid running into the post, then fell to his back. He rose and threw a jubilant fist, leaving behind a spot in the concrete damp with his sweat.
Nadal is seeking his eighth tournament title this year. He beat Federer in the finals at the French Open and Wimbledon.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j..._HlywD92FTHKG0

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Re: 2008 Olympics

Serena Williams wins

12:07 AM, August 11, 2008

BEIJING -- Serena Williams won her debut in Olympic singles here Monday, finishing up a rained-out match against Olga Govortsova of Belarus by winning four quick games to complete a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
The United States star led, 6-3, 2-1, when the rains stopped things Sunday afternoon. Williams, who won the gold medal in doubles at the Sydney Olympics with sister Venus and will play with Venus again in the event, had 15 winners and was never in trouble.
Serena Williams, who had not played in Olympic singles before Beijing, is seeded fourth here. Govortsova, ranked 47th, entered the Olympics with a 19-22 record to date this season.
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olym...-williams.html

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Re: 2008 Olympics

Phelps and Serena keep US on gold trail


BEIJING (AFP) — Superstars Michael Phelps and Serena Williams kept the United States on the Beijing gold trail on Monday.
Phelps, bidding to become the first man to win eight golds at the same Olympics, secured his second title here, but only after playing a supporting role in a titanic duel in the pool against France in the final of the men's 4x100 metres relay.
Unheralded Jason Lezak was America's hero after the veteran put in a stirring swim on the anchor leg, claiming a hair's breadth win to edge French sprinter Alain Bernard and so complete a world record-shattering swim of 3 minutes 08.24 seconds.
Phelps, who goes back in the pool on Monday night in the heats of the 200m butterfly, let out a scream of triumph, punching his arms in the air as team-mates Garrett Weber-Gale and Cullen Jones joined him in the celebrations.
"Jason finished that race way better than we could have even asked for," Phelps said. "For that last 50, I was thinking 'this is going to be one close race'.
"The last 10 to 15 metres were incredible. I lost my voice, and I was definitely pretty emotional after that."
Still trailing at the final turn, Lezak relentlessly pursued Bernard, but it wasn't until the final 10 meters that the American was able to pull level and, finally, edge ahead as he touched with an astonishing split of 46.06 secs.
"When I saw the last 50 metres, and I saw he was far ahead, I thought: 'no way,'" Lezak admitted. "Then I thought: 'That's ridiculous. This is an Olympic Games.'"
Phelps's lead-off time of 47.51 secs was an American record - just one-hundredth of a second off Bernard's world mark coming into the Games.
America had to be content with silver in two other finals.
Libby Trickett of Australia captured the 100m butterfly with Christine Magnuson of the United States taking silver.
Meanwhile teenager Rebecca Adlington captured Great Britain's first female swimming gold for 48 years in the 400m freestyle to leave American Katie Hoff clutching the silver.
Eight-time Grand Slam tennis title winner Serena Williams, bidding for a first singles gold to add to her doubles win at the 2000 Sydney Games with sister Venus, made the last 32 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.
Williams revealed her killer instinct by saying she skipped Friday's opening ceremony, when athletes were on their feet for several hours late into the night in humid conditions, to "preserve her body" in the quest for gold.
"My whole life as an athlete, I've been working to win Grand Slams," she said.
"As a tennis player, you never work to win a gold medal. But my gold medal is the only trophy that I really want to show to people. It's my favorite thing that I have."
Later, the US women's basketball team, who defeated the Czech Republic 97-57 in their opening match, take on China, a day after their NBA counterparts smashed the hosts 101-70.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...BPmJ9BqdClZZ1A

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2008, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Olympics

August 11, 2008


Sleepy Serena Williams detached from Olympic spirit




Feeling the strain: it’s all too much for Williams






Kevin Eason, Sports News Correspondent


div#related-article-links p a, div#related-article-links p a:visited {color:#06c;}A billion pairs of eyes may have been riveted on the most thrilling opening ceremony in the history of the Olympic Games but, for one athlete, it was all a little too much. Her eyes were shut as Beijing welcomed the world, for Serena Williams confided she was just too tired to attend the spectacular with the rest of her team-mates.
While dozens of Chinese drums were beating and fireworks filling the night sky above the fabulous Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium, Williams conjured up an image of a girl doing some private nesting in her jim-jams and slippers, sipping a cup of cocoa, yawning drowsily before turning over for a long, blissful sleep. As her team-mates paraded in front of their waving president, Williams was presumably counting a march-past of sheep.
"I am probably one of the few people that didn't go because I get sleepy at 7pm," she said. "It's like, I don't know, I like to go to sleep really early. And then, you know, I've been to opening ceremonies in Sydney. I was in a foul mood by the time 5pm came around, so it just wasn't worth it." Not worth attending the £50 million ceremony featuring a cast of thousands and attended by President George Bush and Vladimir Putin, the prime minister of Russia. It's a wonder the poor girl could manage to get up the strength to defeat her first round opponent in the Olympic tennis competition today. Perhaps that good night's sleep while the opening ceremony was on helped as she brushed aside Olga Govortsova, 6-3, 6-1. But then the organisers did have the good sense to schedule her match before lunch.
A question mark has always hung over Olympic tennis, which the multi-millionaire, two-time Wimbledon champion did little to dispel. She had the chance to answer the suspicion that tennis players appear to be spoilt brats among the hundreds of athletes for whom sport is the passion and who will never have the chance to earn the riches that have come to her through tennis, with huge prize money and lucractive sponsorship deals.



Unlike Roger Federer, who enthusiastically carried the flag at the opening ceremony for Switzerland, she gave the distinct impression that it was all a bit of chore. She is staying in a downtown hotel with Venus, her sister, although the pair did pay a brief visit to the Athletes' Village where they signed autographs and had their photographs taken with athletes they decided they did not want to be near.

"I chose not to stay in the Village because, you know, I mean, I like privacy," she clumsily revealed. "I don't always want people around me, like all that other stuff."
Oh dear, it all gets to be so much, doesn't it? The International Olympic Committee has no rules on making athletes stay in the Olympic village, but if the Rip van Winkle of tennis had spent any time with her rivals rooming together there, she could have discovered just how passionate they are about the Olympics. Like Danielle Hantuchova, the elegant Slovakian, who was inspired to take up tennis as a child because she saw Miloslav Mecir, her countryman, on television winning gold at the 1988 Games in Seoul.
"I remember asking my parents to buy me a racquet," she said. "It is the most special tournament I play in. It is the reason I play. The atmosphere is wonderful and so friendly, meeting athletes from other sports who have such passion."
Hantuchova was at the opening ceremony and craves an Olympic medal to repeat Mecir's success for her country. She could even meet Williams in the final, a daunting prospect given the American's record. But all is not lost: Hantuchova just has to hope the final is scheduled for after 7pm.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle4504916.ece

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