Beijing Olympics memories - August 16, 2008

US vs the Ukraine
The tennis was getting serious now - we were into the medal rounds on August 16 and it seemed the rain finally decided to leave the Olympics alone. I was still bitter that this day/night of tennis didn't include the women's gold medal singles match as that's what the ticket was for, not a bronze men's match and gold men's doubles match.

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
I sat right behind a huge group of Swiss fans and they were so fun! I didn't stay long for the last night match, which was a bronze medal match between Novak Djokovic and James Blake (won by the Serb).

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)

Ceremony time

The medalists

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

The head snap (aka my fave Miami moment)

I don't know about any of you but the IW/Miami double was hard work - it felt like two continuous slams and there was so much to watch and endure. Indian 'Unwells" seems like last year and it was already a week ago that my favorite moment of both tournaments happened.

I love me some Venus Williams, and her run to the quarterfinals in Miami was emotional, stressful and most of  all wonderful!! In her fourth round match with Ana Ivanovic, Vee the serving machine cranked her 12th ace of the match to hold for a 3-2 lead in the third set.

And then she did this:

I'm still laughing. Venus I've missed you.