Nadal wins Games gold
Nadal, who becomes world number one on Monday, thrashed Chilean Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to become the first top-five champion and the only Spanish gold medallist.sports Updated: Aug 17, 2008 19:06 IST
Spain's Rafael Nadal thrashed Chilean Fernando Gonzalez to claim the Olympic Games men's singles title on Sunday.
Nadal, who becomes world number one on Monday, won 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to become the first top-five champion and the only Spanish gold medallist.
"I just want to enjoy this moment because I'm having an unbelievable year," Nadal said.
"It's more than my best dreams so I want to enjoy the moment. I know how difficult it is to win these things, especially here. Winning here for me is unbelievable."
Gonzalez adds the silver medal to his singles bronze and doubles gold from Athens 2004.
"It's a great goal -- I did it in Athens and now I did it here," he said.
"The Olympics means really a lot to me. So that's why I'm really happy. I'm little bit sad about the match. But all things considered, I'm really happy.
Nadal raced through the first set, breaking at 1-0, creating two set points with a delicate drop shot and finishing it with a forehand winner.
Gonzalez pummelled an inside-out forehand into the right corner to create two second-set points on Nadal's serve, but put a simple volley wide and netted twice as the Spaniard escaped.
Nadal was never behind in the tie-break and thumped his chest as he sprayed a punishing forehand down the line for four set points. Gonzalez miscued a forehand to go two sets down.
The Chilean was tottering and Nadal landed the knock-out blow when he broke for a 3-1 lead in the third. With victory in sight, Nadal saved two break points as he scurried to a Gonzalez drop-shot and guided the ball back past his opponent.
Gonzalez survived three match points at 2-5 but the outcome was inevitable and the Chilean could not get back a wide-angled forehand on the first match point in the next game.
Nadal is set to become number one after more than three years ranked second behind Roger Federer.
He has now won eight titles this year including his fourth French Open crown and first Wimbledon trophy, both at the expense of the Swiss, and has lost just once in 39 matches.
Nadal, an anonymous doubles player at Athens 2004, claims Spain's first tennis gold after Jordi Arrese and Sergi Bruguera were losing finalists in 1992 and 1996 respectively.
Gonzalez's third Olympic medal comes after he was embroiled in a row after his semi-final with James Blake, who accused him of bad sportsmanship.