Rafael Nadal is Olympic singles champion
BEIJING -- For the third time in the last three major tennis tournaments, Rafael Nadal of Spain is the champion.
He won the Olympic gold medal here Sunday, beating Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Nadal won this year's French Open, then Wimbledon and will head to New York City immediately to take a run at the U.S. Open title as the No. 1 player in the world, a spot he inherited from Roger Federer, whom he beat in the classic final this year at Wimbledon.
Federer won the gold in doubles here but has not won a Grand Slam event since last year's U.S. Open.
The second set took 62 minutes, but otherwise Nadal made short work of Gonzalez, a hard-hitting baseline player who builds his game around a lethal forehand. Nadal had 34 winners to 22 for Gonzalez and served at a surprising efficiency rate of 78% in the final set.
-- Bill Dwyre
Photo: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning the Olympic gold medal against Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images