Wood and Lake denied by US pair

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The Independent Online
Britain's Valda Lake and Clare Wood were denied a place in the semi- finals of the women's doubles yesterday when the lost 6-2, 6-1 to the unrelated American pair with the same surname, Mary Joe and Gigi Fernandez.

The Americans, the defending champions and seeded No 1, took charge quickly by winning the first four games. Lake and Wood, who had upset Bulgaria's Maleeva sisters and the seventh-seeded South Africans Mariann de Swardt and Amanda Coetzer, had no answer.

However, Britain are faring better in the men's doubles, where Tim Henman and Neil Broad are just one win away from the first British medal since the sport was re-admitted to the Games eight years ago.

Henman and Broad reached the semi-finals of the men's doubles on Monday by overpowering the fifth-seeded Czechs Jiri Novak and Daniel Vacek 7- 6 6-4 in 81 minutes.

They completed their second surprise win in a row - on Sunday the British pair defeated the second favourites Grant Connell and Daniel Nestor - with a display of powerful serving and sound teamwork at the net. Henman and Broad now play Germany's Marc Goellner and David Prinosil today for a place in the final.

Mary Joe Fernandez could become the first tennis player to earn four medals. She won the bronze in singles to go with her gold in doubles at Barcelona and today plays Lindsay Davenport in the singles semi-finals.

Fernandez and Davenport have played three times previously, and it is not a heated rivalry. "Unfortunately, we do have to play against each other," Fernandez said. "But on the positive side, one of us is guaranteed a medal."

The winner will face either the No 3 seed, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, or the No 6 seed, Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic.