Williams sisters defend Olympic doubles gold
LONDON - The Associated Press
Sisters Serena Williams (R) and Venus Williams of the U.S. celebrate after defeating Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the women's doubles tennis gold medal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 5, 2012. REUTERS PhotoSerena Williams teamed with big sister Venus to win the women’s doubles title at the Olympics on Sunday, adding to the singles gold she won on Centre Court at Wimbledon a day earlier.
The American sisters beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 under the roof on a rainy afternoon at the All England Club. Venus closed out the match with a backhand volley winner after the Czechs saved a pair of match points.
On Saturday, Serena beat Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 for the singles gold. She joined Steffi Graf as the only women to complete the Golden Slam - winning the Olympics and the four majors.
When the Americans in the crowd at Centre Court broke into a chant of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" as they left the court, the sisters each pumped their fists, turned around to wave, then slapped a high-five. The medal ceremony had to wait for the outdoor bronze-medal match, which was delayed by rain.
Serena became tennis’ first double gold medalist at an Olympics since Venus won singles and doubles at the 2000 Sydney Games. The sisters also won the doubles gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Now, they each have a record four Olympic tennis gold medals, and the sisters didn’t drop a set through their five Olympic matches.
Venus - with her red, white and blue braids pulled back into a bun - won singles and doubles gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, then doubles in Beijing. Now Serena also has two gold medals from the same Olympics
The Williamses also became the first tennis players to win Olympic gold indoors since the 1912 Stockholm Games, a match played in a pavilion on wood courts painted black.
They didn’t win their first game at love until Venus’ ace to end the fourth game of the second set, a stretch of three straight games without losing a point.
Serena overcame two break points trailing 0-1 in the second set. She pumped her fist and cheered after a forehand winner down the alley past a poaching Hradecka, who was aggressive at the net all afternoon to finish off quick points.
The Czechs held in four of their first five service games, including Hlavackova’s first that went to deuce four times before she held to get them on the board and show the weren’t one bit intimidated by the American stars.
Venus Williams joins Conchita Martinez of Spain as the only tennis players to win medals at three different Olympics. Martinez’s medals all came in doubles - silver in Barcelona in 1992, bronze in the ’96 Atlanta Games and silver at Athens in 2004.
Gigi Fernandez and current U.S. coach Mary Joe Fernandez are the only others to win back-to-back Olympic tennis gold medals after they teamed for doubles titles in 1992 and ’96.