James Blake loses dramatic match
BEIJING -- American James Blake blinked first here Friday night, and Fernando Gonzalez won the Olympic tennis semifinal and is on his way to Sunday's men's singles final.
In a match as compelling as you'll see, one that ended after 2 hours 52 minutes, Gonzalez hit a big serve and Blake slapped his forehand return into the net. Finally, it was over. Gonzalez had won, 4-6, 7-5, 11-9.
They do not play tiebreakers in deciding sets in the Olympics.
Blake had saved four match points in the game. He also had three match points of his own and three break points in one game earlier in the set.
But in the end, the relentless, rocket-like forehand of the Chilean prevailed, and Blake's only consolation prize will be a chance to play for a bronze medal.
That match will come against the loser of the match between the soon-to-be world's No. 1, Rafael Nadal, and the world's No. 3, Novak Djokovic, later Friday night.
Following the loss, Blake was upset over a call that went against him at 9-8 in the third set. He said that a shot he hit in an attempt to pass Gonzalez had clipped the Chilean's body before going out, which would have given Blake the point. Instead the umpire ruled that the ball missed Gonzalez's racket. Here's a transcript of Blake's interview.
Gonzalez, of course, had a different take on the situation in his interview after the match.
-- Bill Dwyre
Photo: American James Blake was fired up during and after his three-set loss to Fernando Gonzalez in the men's singles semifinals Friday in Beijing. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images