Tennis: Fish avenges Roddick's defeat

Nicolas Massu beat Taylor Dent of the United States 7-6 (5), 6-1 Friday in the men's tennis semifinals to move within one victory of giving Chile its first Olympic gold medal in any sport.

In the other Olympic semifinal, Mardy Fish, an unseeded American, beat another Chilean, No.16 Fernando Gonzalez, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Gonzalez had pulled off a third-round upset of Fish's teammate and buddy, Andy Roddick, who was in the stands rooting.

Fish and Massu will meet Sunday in the gold medal match.

"I didn't expect to be here, so I don't have anything to lose," Fish said, "and I'm sure Nicolas would say the same thing.

There's no pressure on either of us.

" It's by far the best showing by Fish or Massu at any big tournament: Neither has ever been past the third round at a Grand Slam.

Massu's four career titles have all come on clay, while Fish's lone triumph came at Stockholm last year.

That makes for a fitting finish to an Olympic tournament in which No.1 Roger Federer, No. 2 Roddick, and No. 4 Tim Henman were all eliminated by the third round.

Chile's total tennis medal count before the Athens Games was zero.

The nation is assured of at least two now, because Massu and Gonzalez reached Saturday's doubles final against Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler of Germany.

Fish and Dent, meanwhile, were the U.S. tennis team's last chances for a medal.

And it's the first time no U.S. woman will leave an Olympic tennis tournament with a prize.

The women's singles semifinals later Friday were No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium vs. No.3 Anastasia Myskina of Russia, and No.2 Amelie Mauresmo of France vs. Alicia Molik of Australia.

In the doubles semifinals, No.8 Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian of China beat No. 7 Paola Suarez and Patricia Tarabini of Argentina 6-2, 2-6, 9-7, guaranteeing China its first tennis medal at an Olympics.

Li and Sun, who beat Venus Williams and Chanda Rubin in the first round, will face No.2 Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain or No.5 Shinobu Asagoe and Ai Sugiyama of Japan for the gold Sunday.

Fish looked lost midway through the first set, dropping four straight games and showing his frustration by smashing his racket to the court or using it to bonk himself on the head or knee.

But on the first point at 2-2 in the second set, Gonzalez turned his right ankle while chasing a ball.

He needed a medical timeout while a trainer wrapped the injury.

Fish finally gained control in the ninth game, breaking Gonzalez for a 5-4 lead.

The American, who's ranked 22nd, then served it out.

After the last point, he sank to his knees and bowed on court, then rose and flashed a thumb's up in Roddick's direction.

"I've been waiting for this sort of performance from him at a huge event," U.S. coach Patrick McEnroe said.

"I've been waiting for him to do this at a Slam, and it's just as big here.

" Massu and Dent looked like teammates up at the net for the prematch coin toss, both wearing red shirts and dark shorts with white racing stripes.

The only thing to distinguish Massu was his white baseball cap and long ponytail.

Little separated them at the start of play, either.

There were no breaks of serve in the first set, and Massu took the tiebreaker by finally getting the measure on his passing shots.

The Chilean converted his second set point with a fantastic return at Dent's feet, drawing an awkward volley that sailed long.

Massu then rolled through the second set, opening a 5-0 lead.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral