|US vs the Ukraine|
The fact my friend had a ticket for the women's singles final was the original reason I made the long (expensive) journey in the first place, so it was overwhelmingly frustrating for me (a HUGE fan of women's tennis). Those who bought the men's singles final tickets ended up getting the women's singles match as well. Imagine if that happened during a grand slam? (yeah, probably should get over it).
The center court match to watch was definitely Li Na versus Dinara Safina. Li Na wasn't ranked very highly at the time (#43, tho mostly due to injury) while Dinara was the #6 seed and would become the WTA #1 the next year. I'd already sat through a crazy match with Li Na upsetting Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, but the semifinal match was going to be even worse.
The crowd was...difficult. I understood that the Chinese crowd was delighted to have a medal contender and they didn't treat Dinara well at all. Much like with Venus in the round before, everything she did was laughed at or booed. It got so tense that when Dinara broke Li Na back in the first set the crowd booed her! Dinara's coach actually stood up and yelled at the chair umpire to do something about the crowd. It wasn't just about their treatment of Dinara, it was the repeated noise during play - the crowd routinely called out during points and as a major tennis fan it was (and remains) the worst tennis watching situation I've been in.
It was a tight match. Dinara served for the first set twice and finally won it in a tiebreaker. Then I was outta there - I opted to go watch some more chilled out doubles action! The semifinal match between Venus and Serena Williams and the Ukrainian Bondarenko sisters felt like heaven. Nice tennis, nice crowd. And the Williams sisters advanced to the gold medal match.
The big match of the night was the men's doubles final: Federer/Wawrinka of Switzerland vs Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson of Sweden. It was pretty cool to see the Swiss win the gold. Roger's reaction when they won was priceless:
|Fed says thanks to Stan|
Some other photos from my final day watching tennis at the Beijing Olympics:
|William Sisters in action|
|They advance to the Gold Medal match|
|Happy Serena and Venus|
|Switzerland wins gold in men's doubles|
|Fed and Stan thanking me for my support (well, okay, not really)|
|Some cute Olympic volunteers|
|My first medal ceremony at the Olympics|
|Some of the crowd|
|Men's doubles medalists|
|Bryan Brothers and Team Swiss do a lap with their medals|
|Blake taking on Djokovic|
|Djokovic on his way to a bronze medal|