Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil will play for bronze at the Rio 2016 men’s doubles tournament.
Nestor and Pospisil lost a tight semifinal match to Spain’s Marc Lopez and Raphael Nadal on Thursday afternoon in Rio, falling 7-6(1), 7-6(4).
The Canadian duo will face Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States for bronze on Friday. Sock and Pospisil are familiar with each other, partnering together regularly on tour. The two won the Wimbledon men’s doubles title in 2014.
Nestor and Pospisil will be looking to win Canada’s second ever Olympic tennis medal. The only other came at Sydney 2000 when Nestor and partner Sebastien Lareau won gold in men’s doubles.
Lopez and Nadal entered Rio as the sixth seeded team, one spot ahead of Nestor and Pospisil. Nadal, ranked fifth in the world in singles but 200th in doubles, had a strong game for Spain – despite playing a singles match earlier in the day.
After leading 2-1 in the opening set, the Canadians got their first break of the afternoon in the fourth game to go up 3-1. But the Spaniards broke right back in the next game and then went on to quickly tie the set up at 3-3. Neither team was able to break serve for the remainder of the set, forcing a tie-break. The Canadians struggled with their net play in the breaker, going down 5-0 and losing 7-1.
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Both teams held serve in the second set, giving Spain a 5-4 advantage. The Canadians then fought off several match points to tie the set up at 5-5. Nestor and Pospisil had three chances to break Nadal’s serve in the ensuing game but could not convert. Fortunately for Canada, Pospisil held serve to tie the match at 6-6 and force another tie breaker.
In the tie-break, a double fault from Pospisil put Nadal and Lopez up 5-2. The Spaniards went on to clinch the match with a 7-4 victory in the break.
The Canadians advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Italy’s Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi on Tuesday.
On Monday, Nestor and Pospisil quickly broke Portugal’s Gastao Elias and Joao Sousa twice to go up 4-0 in the opening set, going on to take it 6-1. They took the second set 6-4 to win the match in straight sets.
The two had a tough opening match at Rio 2016 against New Zealand’s Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus on Sunday. After dropping the first set 6-4, the two rebounded with a 6-3 victory in the second and then won the third in a tie-break.