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Nadal, Dementieva rule in Olympic tennis

Latest update : 2008-08-18

The unstoppable Spaniard Rafael Nadal beat Chilean Fernando Gonzalez to win the men's Olympic tennis tournament, while Elena Dementieva defeated Dinara Safina in an all-Russian tussle for the women's title.

Spain's Rafael Nadal added Olympic gold to his glittering season collection as he destroyed Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the men's singles final on Sunday.

Nadal, whose tennis domination will be confirmed when he becomes world number one for the first time on Monday, blew Gonzalez away 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to claim his eighth title this year.

He is the first top-five player to take the men's title and the only Spanish champion after near-misses in 1992 and 1996. Nadal has already won his fourth consecutive French Open and first Wimbledon title this season.

Earlier Elena Dementieva won a combustible final against Dinara Safina to head a Russian one-two-three in the women's singles.

The world number seven recovered from an error-strewn first set to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, making up for her disappointment in losing the 2000 final.

"It's very difficult to explain the way I feel right now. It will take a few days before I realize I'm Olympic champion," Dementieva said.

"But this is for sure the biggest moment in my career, in my life. I will never forget this moment."

Russia had already been guaranteed the first tennis podium sweep in 100 years when Vera Zvonareva, a late call-up for the injured Maria Sharapova, clinched the bronze medal play-off against China's Li Na 6-0, 7-5.

Meanwhile, 2000 doubles champions Serena and Venus Williams won their second title with a one-sided 6-2, 6-0 win against Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain.

The sisters become only the second pair to win the women's doubles twice after fellow Americans Gigi Fernandez and Mary Jo Fernandez.

"I'm so excited I can't even speak," said Venus.

Yan Zi and Zheng Jie bagged the bronze against Ukrainian sisters Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko, handing China their second successive women's doubles medal after Li Ting and Sun Tiantian's victory in 2004.

The men's final had seemed a formality, such is Nadal's current form, and the muscular 22-year-old duly raced through the first set, breaking at 1-0 and taking the lead with a forehand winner.

Gonzalez blew his chance to get back into the match when he put a simple volley wide after creating two second-set points on Nadal's serve.

Nadal was never behind in the tie-break and he landed the knock-out blow by breaking at 2-1 in the third. He missed three match points on Gonzalez's serve before wrapping it up in the next game with a wide-angled forehand.

The women's singles final got off to a low-quality and bad-tempered start with neither player able to hold serve and frustrations growing on both sides of the net.

A shrieking Dementieva lost the first set but crucially held off a break point at 5-5 in the second before levelling the match.

Safina swiped the ball into the crowd and smashed her racquet on the floor in the tense third set as Dementieva closed it out on her first match point.

Russia currently dominates women's tennis with five of the top 10 players and three of the last four Fed Cup titles.

Date created : 2008-08-17

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