Rafael Nadal’s bid for an unprecedented second Olympic singles gold medal ended with a thrill-a-minute semifinal loss to Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentinian won 5-7, 6-4, 7-6.
Rafa and Kei Nishikori will play each other in the bronze medal match on Sunday.
After the match, Rafa said:
It was good match, good level of tennis and all I can say is congratulations to Del Potro.
I try my best, I give my best ’til the last ball but that’s like this. I am very satisfied by what I did the whole week.
Tomorrow is another day and I’m going to try to be ready for it. (via ITF)
The players traded the first two sets. Coming back from a 3-0 deficit, Rafa eventually rallied to defeat del Potro in the first, 7-5. The second set saw del Potro eek past Nadal, 6-4.
Rafa and del Potro were tied halfway through the third. Del Potro eventually won a break point at 4-4 after Rafa belted a ball just beyond the baseline. The crowd roared: “Del-po! Del-po! Del-po!”
The Spaniard ripped through the next game, tying the score once again at 5-5. Again, the crowd went nuts: “Rafa! Rafa! Rafa!”
It went to a third set tiebreak. Del Potro established a lead, but Nadal hit some amazing shots as he tried to catch up. WhenRafa hit a shot long, Del Potro won the tiebreak and the match.
Sources: NBC, ITF