Today the Olympics, tomorrow the world for Rafa
Originally published on 26/02/10 11:10
Rafael Nadal takes over at the top of the ATP rankings for the first time tomorrow, and showed just why with a gold-medal winning performance against Fernando Gonzalez in Beijing.
The Spaniard was threatened just once, saving two set points in the second set, but held every one of his service games to win 6-3 7-6(2) 6-3 and claim Spain’s first ever tennis gold medal.
Nadal is the first player ranked in the world’s top five to win the gold, a result that may go some way to justify the inclusion of tennis in the Olympic Games.
He dominated against Gonzalez from the start, breaking in the second game to secure the first set. Nadal didn’t face any break points until the end of the second set, when he was down 5-6, 15-40.
But Gonzalez, who found some joy particularly with his inside-out forehand in the second, failed to convert his chances, pushing a volley wide and netting a forehand.
The Chilean, whose spirit look to be broken following that missed volley, then made five unforced errors in the tie-break to give Nadal a two-set lead.
Nadal ripped a backhand passing shot to break at love for a 3-1 lead in the final set, and erased two more break points to hold for 5-2.
He needed four match points to close out the victory, ripping an inside-out forehand of his own that Gonzalez could barely reach.