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(PHOTOS) 2012 Fed Cup Campaign Begins Today

Saturday, February 4, 2012

(Upper left) Venus and Serena Williams, USA, (lower left) Sloane Stephens, USA, (center) Heather Watson, Great Britain, (right) Simone Pratt, Bahamas.
2012 USA Fed Cup Team

Americans Venus Williams and Captain Mary Joe Fernandez during press conference in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Sloane Stephens, USA during practice.
Great Britain's (r)Heather Watson during practice.

Serena Williams, USA and Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, at Official Draw Ceremony.

Simone Pratt, Bahamas also practicing.

Photos © Jared Gruenwald

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Serena Williams, left, pulls New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's jersey out of a box, before putting it back, while making a Super Bowl prediction during a Fed Cup tennis news conference in Worcester, Mass., Tuesday Jan. 31, 2012. Williams, who is part of the Fed Cup team competing against Belarus this weekend in Worcester, decided to pick the New York Giants. At right is US captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

Members of the US Fed Cup team pose with jerseys as they make each make a Super Bowl prediction during a news conference in Worcester, Mass., Tuesday Jan. 31, 2012. From left to right is Christina McHale (New York Giants), Serena Williams (New York Giants), Mary Joe Fernandez (New York Giants) and Liezel Huber (new England Patriots)     

source: AP

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Around The Net... Venus And Serena At The Sony Ericsson Open

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams Win WTA Player AwardsVenus and Serena Williams
(Photos by Getty Images)

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced the 2009 winners of the annual Player Awards during a special ceremony Wednesday at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida. Seven players were honored for their remarkable on and off court achievements during the 2009 season.

Serena Williams was voted the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s 2009 Player of the Year for the third time in her career, having previously earned the accolade for the 2002 and 2008 seasons. Serena had a stellar 2009 season, winning two Grand Slam singles titles (the Australian Open and Wimbledon), the prestigious year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, and reaching the final of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

Additionally, she was a semifinalist at five more Tour events and recorded 14 wins over Top 10 opponents during the season. Williams finished 2009 as the top ranked singles player in the world, marking the fifth time in her career that she ascended to the pinnacle of the rankings.

Serena and Venus Williams won the Doubles Team of the Year award for their collective achievements in 2009, highlighted by winning four titles which included three Grand Slams (the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open) and the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford. The pair ended the year with a 24-2 win-loss record.

“2009 was one of the best seasons of my career and winning the Player of the Year award for the third time is a great achievement for me,” said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour World No.1 Serena Williams. “2009 will always be memorable for me not just for my singles accomplishments, but because Venus and I won four titles together and I am thrilled to be sharing the Doubles Team of the Year award with my sister.”

“I love playing doubles with Serena as we have so much fun on the court together,” said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour World No.5 Venus Williams. “At the beginning of the 2009 season Serena and I decided to put a lot of emphasis on doubles and I am thrilled that we were able to achieve so much together.”

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams pose with other WTA player award recipients.L-R) Elena Dementieva, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Yanina Wickmayer, Kim Clijsters and Liezel Huber

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams poses with WTA player of the year awardBlack Tennis Pro's Venus Williams at Sony Ericsson Open Press ConferenceVenus speaks to media at press conference

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams poses with the WTA players councilVenus and the WTA Players Council pose for a photo at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 22, 2010 in Key Biscayne, Florida.

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Fed Cup: Shenay Perry Joins 2010 Roster And Blogs From France

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Shenay Perry 2010 US Fed Cup Team2010 United States Fed Cup Team
(L-R) Captain Mary Joe Fernandez, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Shenay Perry, Melanie Oudin and Liezel Huber.

The U.S. Fed Cup Team is in Lievin, France this week to open its 2010 season against the French team. U.S. Captain Mary Joe Fernandez is leading a team of Liezel Huber, Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Shenay Perry in what the team hopes will be the first victory on the way to the 2010 Fed Cup crown. During the days leading up to the competition on February 6-7, different team members will be blogging each day about practicing, their daily adventures, team bonding and more. After Huber started the week off, Perry follows in the second blog as she talks about the first team practice, the clay court and playing Charades. Check back each day to see who is writing next!

Black Tennis Pro's Shenay Perry US Fed Cup Team Blogs From FranceShenay Perry - February 3, 2010

Hi Everyone! After Liezel's great leadoff blog yesterday, it is my turn today. The entire team has now arrived here in Lievin – we got here yesterday – and today was the first day of team practice, which I thought went pretty well. It was short this morning but we did do a few two-on-ones so it was a good, productive hit. I hit with both Melanie and Liezel and we did a few one-on-one circuit drills as well when one of us took a break.

This is the first time I have played Fed Cup since 2006 and my first with Mary Joe as captain but for me the team had already meshed before we even got here. This was the first day we have all been together but Bethanie and I both attended the same tennis academy as teenagers so we have been friends for a long time and I know both Melanie and Liezel pretty well. So I think it is going great so far with our team bonding.

Today was my first day out on the clay court at the stadium. It is indoors, which is a good thing since it poured rain yesterday and today. I think the surface is pretty similar to the one at Roland Garros. It plays a little quick, which I think will be good for us, and it had some good bounces for a clay court. As a whole, I feel all right on clay, I guess my results speak for themselves as I have played pretty decently on clay in my career. As long as I have the results, I feel comfortable!

I know the team has a tradition of playing Charades and/or Pictionary during Fed Cup week and I am a little nervous about it. I am just hoping someone will pick me for her team and if they do that I do not get booted for being too bad! I have heard there are plans in the works to play tonight for the first time so it looks like I will probably be forced into it. Wish me luck!


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Venus And Serena Add 11th Grand Slam Doubles Title To Crown

Friday, January 29, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams 2010 Australian Open Doubles Title

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams 2010 Australian Open Doubles TitleMELBOURNE — Venus and Serena Williams coasted to their 11th Grand Slam doubles title on Friday when they beat top seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and American Liezel Huber to be crowned Australian Open champions.

The American pair won 6-4, 6-3 for their second successive Australian title and their fourth overall in an 86-minute victory over the 2007 winners.

They also won here in 2001 and 2003.

Both pairs had almost identical winning records over the early rounds but the Williams sisters dominated the final, easing to a comfortable win.

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams 2010 Australian Open Doubles TitleHowever, the actual moment of the victory caught Venus by surprise, as she had not realised it was match point and was taken aback by Serena's sudden unbridled delight.

"I actually didn't know the score and I thought that it was 5-2," she said with a laugh. "I thought, she's really happy about this break.

"I thought, wow, I've never seen her this happy, but I'll go with it."

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams 2010 Australian Open Doubles TitleSerena, who plays Justine Henin in the singles final on Saturday, said their success as a doubles combination made them wish they had teamed up earlier.

"We were talking today about how we wished we had have played more when we were, you know, younger," she said.

"We still feel like we have so much we can win and just stay focused. We just love being out there and we love the competition.

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams 2010 Australian Open Doubles Title"More than anything, we really have fun, we smile and we enjoy it."

The sisters are now the third most successful women's doubles partnership in the Open Era, after Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver (21 Grand Slam titles), and Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva (14).

They have now won four of the past six Grand Slam doubles titles.

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams 2010 Australian Open Doubles Title

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AO Day 11: Serena Presses On To Singles And Doubles Finals

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Li Na 2010 Australian OpenSerena Williams, USA

In a real display of mind over matter, the heavily bandaged and obviously fatigued World No. 1 Serena Williams pressed on to a straight sets victory in Thursday's semifinal match against Li Na of China. Talk about the walking wounded!

The hallmark of this champion is without question fortitude. Clearly bandaged, admittedly not in her best form and playing doubles with sister Venus as well, has presented a challenge to the younger Williams sister that few could meet. Yet Serena continues to not only show up and press on... she's winning.

One day after a hard-fought comeback win that sent Belarusian Victoria Azarenka home, Serena steadied herself and her game sufficient to dismiss the woman who defeated sister Venus the previous day.

Taking the match 7-6(4), 7-6(1), Serena toiled against the very fit shot making Li Na who should have won the match given her opponents limitations. As the match went on Serena seemed to be encouraged and strengthened by her ability to hang into the match. By the end she was pumped and ready for whatever came across the net.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams vs. Li Na 2010 Australian OpenAfter her inspiring performance Serena said, "I am happy I was able to pull it out, it was really close. I wasn't at my best today but I'm still here, which is shocking, and I'm just going to do whatever I can to stay."

A few hours afterwards Serena joined sister Venus for their doubles semifinal match against American Lisa Raymond and Australian Rennae Stubbs. The sisters defeated the ladies 6-3, 7-6(8/6) and set up a final against American Liezel Huber and Zimbabwe's Cara Black, the same team they met in 2009's final.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena and Venus Williams Doubles 2010 Australian Open

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Serena Williams Returns To Fed Cup Play For 2009 Final

Monday, October 26, 2009

2007 USA Fed Cup Team Venus and Serena Williams, Vania King, Lisa Raymond2007 USA Fed Cup Team (l-r) Vania King, Lisa Raymond, Venus Williams, Serena Williams
(Photo by Getty Images)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) -- Serena Williams is back on the U.S. Fed Cup team for the first time since 2007.

Surprise U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin is also on the roster announced Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association for the Nov. 7-8 final against host Italy.

Williams leads active women with 11 Grand Slam singles titles and is 4-0 in Fed Cup singles matches over her career. Her sister Venus is not on the team.

Top-ranked doubles player Liezel Huber and Alexa Glatch round out the roster.

U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez says she strongly believes her team can win the Fed Cup title, something the country hasn't done since 2000.

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Bank Of The West Classic Doubles Title Goes To Venus And Serena Williams

Monday, August 3, 2009

American sisters Venus and Serena Williams, 2009 Bank of the West Classic Doubles Champions.
(Photos by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Venus Williams might have come up short in her bid for a third Bank of the West Classic singles title. However, she still managed to walk away with one championship trophy. One hour after falling shy in a three-set loss to Marion Bartoli in the tournament’s singles title match, Venus Williams and teammate Serena Williams cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 victory in the doubles final over the team of Yung-Jan Chan and Monica Niculescu.

The title was the third this year for the Williams sisters, as the duo also captured the crowns at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. It is the 15th championship overall for the Williams sisters and the first non-Grand Slam doubles title since 1999.

Serena Williams and Venus Williams enjoyed a dominating run through the tournament, never allowing more than four games to an opponent.

Playing together for the first time, Chan and Niculescu were also impressive during the week. Unseeded in the draw, Chan and Niculescu’s signature moment came during the quarterfinals in the form of a 7-5, 6-3 victory over the top-seeded team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber.

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Blake and Kops-Jones Edged Out In London

Monday, June 15, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake 2009 AEGON FinalAmerican James Blake reacts after losing a point against Britain's Andy Murray during the singles final at The AEGON Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London
(Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

Black Tennis Pro's Andy Murray Queens ClubLONDON (AP) — Andy Murray defeated James Blake 7-5, 6-4 Sunday to win the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club for his first grass-court title.

The top-seeded Murray became the first British player to win the tournament since Bunny Austin in 1938, who then went on to become the last Briton to reach the Wimbledon final.

"I was quite nervous," Murray said. "People were telling me that no (Briton) had won here for 70-odd years so that got the nerves going, especially when I was serving for the match."

Murray took an early lead with a break in the third game, but Blake immediately evened it with a forehand winner down the line. Both players then easily held serve until 5-5, when Blake missed a forehand on break point.

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake runner up AEGON Finals trophy presentationBlake accepts the runners up trophy from HRH Duchess of Gloucester (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The second set was equally competitive until Murray broke for a decisive 4-3 lead when a fierce return forced Blake to net a backhand volley.

"I didn't quite know what to expect, but this is some of the best tennis I've played in my life," said Murray, who did not drop a set all week. "I'm a long way from winning Wimbledon, but I feel confident. I'll try and not get too far ahead of myself and focus on my first match there, but if I play my best like I did this week, I've got a chance."

Blake said he was beaten by a better player, but that he was pleased with preparation for Wimbledon, which starts June 22.

"I had a good week," Blake said. "Playing on the grass, I always have a lot of fun playing here. I feel great. I've been working with my coach and trainer, and I know I'm doing the best preparation possible for Wimbledon. I'll be ready to play and feel great about my chances."

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake and Andy Murray 2009 AEGON Final
It was Murray's fourth title of the year, following victories in Doha, Rotterdam and Miami.

The sixth-seeded Blake was playing his third grass-court final, after finishing runner-up here in 2006 to Lleyton Hewitt and losing the Newport final in 2002 to Taylor Dent. He was seeking his first title since August 2007.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament to rest his knees ahead of Wimbledon.

Black Tennis Pro's Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 2009 AEGON doubles finalAmericans Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones
(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

On day seven of the AEGON Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham, England, Zimbabwean Cara Black and American Liezel Huber, the top seeds and No.1 pair in the world, won the doubles title in Edgbaston on Sunday afternoon.

Black and Huber retained the title they won together last year by defeating American No.4 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 6-1 6-4 in under an hour.

Black Tennis Pro's Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 2009 AEGON doubles finalBlack Tennis Pro's Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 2009 AEGON doubles final

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Fed Cup: Amazing Turnaround Puts USA In Final

Monday, April 27, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Fed Cup2009 Fed Cup Team (l-r) Melanie Oudin, Alexa Glatch, Liezel Huber, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands

The USA stormed into the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas final with victory over the Czech Republic after doubles pairing Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Liezel Huber came back from match point down to win the fifth and decisive rubber 2-6 7-6(1) 6-1 against Kveta Peschke and Iveta Benesova.

This victory for the USA is a particularly proud moment for team captain Mary-Joe Fernandez who has coached her team to the final of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas in her first year as captain.

“The doubles was a really emotional match, there were so many ups and downs,” she said. What a fight though. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of courage and that’s what Fed Cup’s about. It’s about the team and working together and they found a way to win the match and it’s a thrill to be in the final.”

In the final in November the USA will meet Italy, who won their semifinal tie against Russia this weekend by four rubbers to one. The tie won’t be an easy one for the USA, as the Italians showed their strength defeating the ITF’s number one ranked team in Castellaneta Marina this weekend.

The Italians have won the Fed Cup only once before in 2006 when they defeated Belgium in the final. The Americans by contrast have not won a Fed Cup title since 2000 and Mary-Joe Fernandez is hoping that her team’s cause in November will be helped by the addition of the Williams sisters.

“Venus and Serena are the best players in America and basically the whole world so hopefully they can play. You have to pick your best team so I’ll be calling them and getting them ready.”

Photo by AP

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Serena Williams Wins WTA Player Of The Year Award

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MIAMI (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams has won her second WTA Player of the Year award, the tour announced on Thursday at a ceremony.

Williams, who did not attend the event, won the U.S. Open last year and reached the Wimbledon final. She also claimed a gold medal with sister Venus in the doubles at the Beijing Olympics.

In her career, the American has claimed ten grand slam titles and she was also the WTA Player of the Year in 2002.

"Winning the Player of the Year award for the second time in my career is a great personal achievement," Williams said in a statement released by the WTA.

Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of South Africa won the doubles Team of the Year award.

Russia's Dinara Safina was Most Improved Player of the Year after finishing the season ranked second while China's Zheng Jie was awarded Comeback Player of the Year, after returning from injury to climb over 100 places in the rankings.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki was Newcomer of the Year after picking up three wins on tour while Serbian Ana Ivanovic was named Humanitarian of the Year for her work with the United Nations Children's Fund.

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2009 USA Fed Cup Team

Thursday, January 29, 2009

L-R, Liezel Huber, Jill Craybas, Bethanie Mattek and Melanie Oudin.

Phoenix resident Bethanie Mattek, the third-highest ranked American woman in the world, will make her Fed Cup debut alongside Liezel Huber, the world’s No. 1 doubles player, Jill Craybas, and fellow first-time Fed Cupper Melanie Oudin when the U.S. faces Argentina in the 2009 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal February 7-8 at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz.

The best-of-five match series begins on Saturday, February 7 with two singles matches and is followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday, February 8. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. The U.S. won its last home Fed Cup tie in last year’s quarterfinal against Germany at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif.

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A Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On At The Beijing Olympics

Friday, August 15, 2008

BEIJING (AP) — James Blake could shrug off the three match points he failed to convert, and even the misfire on an easy forehand that would have given him a berth in the Olympic final.

What stuck in his craw was the notion his opponent didn't play fair.

Blake came up one shot short Friday, losing in the semifinal to Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 4-6, 7-5, 11-9. Afterward he accused Gonzalez of failing to fess up on a disputed point two games before the finish.

"I've spoken all week about how much I've enjoyed the Olympic experience, how much I love the spirit of it," Blake said. "That's a disappointing way to exit the tournament, when you not only lose the match, but you lose a little faith in your fellow competitor."

Actually, the No. 8-seeded Blake remains in the tournament. A first-time Olympian at 28, he'll play for a bronze Saturday as the last hope for a U.S. medal in men's or women's singles.

Gonzalez, seeded 12th, will play in Sunday's final against Rafael Nadal, who clinched his first Olympic medal by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

Venus and Serena Williams won twice to reach the semifinals in doubles, but the U.S. team lost its other matches. Top-seeded Mike and Bob Bryan were beaten in the semifinals by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, 7-6 (6), 6-4. The Swiss team clinched at least a silver — the first medal for Federer in the three Olympics he has played.

Americans Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber were eliminated in the doubles quarterfinals.

The incident that upset Blake occurred with Gonzalez serving at 8-9 in the final set. On the first point, Blake hit a backhand passing shot long but contended the ball ticked Gonzalez's racket before landing, as TV replays confirmed.

Blake appealed in vain to the chair umpire, and said Gonzalez should have conceded the point. Blake went on to lose the game to make it 9-all.

"Playing in the Olympics, in what's supposed to be considered a gentleman's sport, that's a time to call it on yourself," Blake said. "Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn't call it."

Gonzalez said he was uncertain whether the ball hit his racket.

"I didn't feel anything," Gonzalez said. "I mean, it's just one point. There is an umpire. If I'm 100 percent sure about it, I mean, I will give it. But I'm not sure."

Blake described Gonzalez as a great player who does everything in his power to win, "usually" within the rules.

"Whatever he wants to say is fine," Blake said. "Whatever is going to get him to have some sleep tonight, then that's fine."

New No. 1 Jelena Jankovic lost in the women's quarterfinals to No. 6 Dinara Safina of Russia, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. Safina won her 14th match in a row and will play Li Na of China in the semifinals Saturday.

The other women's semifinal will be an all-Russian matchup between No. 5 Elena Dementieva and No. 9 Vera Zvonareva.

Nadal came to Beijing assured of earning the No. 1 ranking for the first time next week, ending Federer's 4 1/2-year reign. Now the Spaniard is one win from adding an Olympic title to the French Open and Wimbledon championships he has already claimed this year.

It was after midnight when Nadal closed out his latest victory in dramatic fashion. On match point he scrambled to retrieve two overhead slams by Djokovic. When the flustered Serb shanked a third overhead, Nadal collapsed to the hard court in jubilation.

"When I arrived here, I didn't expect for sure to be in this final. I arrived very tired," Nadal said. "But when the week is coming, I felt better and better. I'm very happy to have this experience in my life."

Federer, eliminated in singles Thursday by Blake, kept alive his bid for a medal by winning a rain-interrupted match with Wawrinka over Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India 6-2, 6-4. Six hours later the Swiss team defeated the Bryan brothers.

"Having beaten the best in the world and going for gold, it's an incredible scenario," Federer said. "This is a big moment in my career."

The Williams sisters, both eliminated in singles Thursday, completed a suspended second-round doubles match and beat Ayumi Morita and Ai Sugiyama of Japan, 7-5, 6-2. The Williamses then defeated Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-0.

Davenport and Huber lost to Anabel Medina Garriguez and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain 5-7, 7-6 (6), 8-6.

Blake and Gonzalez played the first match on center court, and there was tension between them as early as the second set, when Gonzalez slammed an easy forehand at his opponent's head from point-blank range.

Blake glared at Gonzalez, who apologized. Afterward Blake said he was upset only in the "heat of the moment."

As for the later point of dispute, the match wouldn't have reached that stage had Blake converted one of his three match points after Gonzalez fell behind 5-6, love-40 serving in the final set.

At 10-9 it was Gonzalez who struggled to convert match points, but on the fifth one he smacked a service winner for the victory.

"It was really one or two points, and who played those one or two points better," Blake said. "Today he did at the end."

After beating Federer, Blake showed no sign of an upset hangover. He served well, winning 15 consecutive service points at one stretch, and repeatedly negated the big-swinging Chilean's forehand by pinning him deep in baseline rallies.

Blake even pulled off a nifty trick shot, retreating to retrieve a lob and hitting a back-to-the-net, between-the-legs forehand. Gonzalez was so startled he dumped an easy forehand into the net.

Three times in the second set, Blake was two points from victory. But the best opportunity came in the third set, when he went for a winner on his first match point and sailed a forehand long.

Gonzalez then hit four winners in a row to hold for 6-all, and eight games later he was thrusting his arms to sky after clinching a medal.

Photos Getty Images

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