Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic stunned by Zverev as Golden Slam hopes collapse

By Sports Desk July 30, 2021

Novak Djokovic's hopes of becoming the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam were crushed by a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev at the Tokyo Olympics.

From a set and a break up, Djokovic dropped a staggering eight games in a row on his way to a 1-6 6-3 6-1 loss.

The 34-year-old Serbian had been unsure about coming to the Games but was swayed by the pride he takes in representing his country and the tantalising opportunity to add a gold medal to a potential clean sweep of the grand slams.

He has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and will head to the US Open in August as a heavy favourite regardless of this setback.

But this was just not Djokovic's day, despite him making a whirlwind start and dominating until the point he broke to lead 3-2 in the second set. From there, Zverev seized control. 

When Djokovic volleyed into the net to make it 3-3, dropping serve for the first time in the match, it looked like just a minor stumble.

Yet suddenly he was struggling for form and did not win another game until he was already 4-0 behind in the deciding set.

Zverev was playing blindingly brilliant tennis and was proving obdurate too, saving four break points in the second game of the third set.

He clinched victory with a blazing backhand winner, and goes on to face Russian Karen Khachanov in the final.

The result means Djokovic, like Roger Federer, seems fated never to win the Olympic singles gold medal. And it leaves Steffi Graf as the only player to ever win a calendar Golden Slam, having done so in 1988 when she added the Seoul Olympics title to her haul of majors.

Russian Olympic Committee's Khachanov fended off Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta with some ease in the first semi-final, with the world number 25 sweeping to a 6-3 6-3 victory in an hour and 19 minutes.

He won 26 of 28 points on first serve to freeze out Carreno Busta, who had only one break point all match and could not take that opportunity.

"It's just a pure happiness, a pleasure to be here to live those moments, these kind of memories will stay forever," Khachanov said.

Khachanov delivered a rock solid display, with his serve and forehand at their best, barely giving his opponent a sniff of an opportunity as the Moscow-born 25-year-old established a firm grip.

"That's the way I prepared, against every opponent you play a little bit differently," Khachanov said. "The final will be another story, another match, another day. I hope it will be the same."

Carreno Busta, who will face Djokovic for the bronze medal, said: "It was not the best match I have played, but Karen was unbelievable today, playing very aggressive and serving really good."

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Tan 'really scared' to face Williams before three-set triumph Wimbledon: Tan 'really scared' to face Williams before three-set triumph

    Harmony Tan admitted she feared the prospect of facing a 23-time grand slam winner after defeating Serena Williams at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

    It took Tan three hours and 11 minutes to claim the scalp of the seven-time Wimbledon winner, eventually winning the match 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7).

    The SW19 debutant twice broke back in the third set, even setting up a match point which Williams saved before the eventual tie-break, and rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the tie-break to emerge victorious.

    Despite the resolve shown and delight with the win on Centre Court at the All England Club, the 24-year-old revealed she nervously came into the contest.

    "[Serena] is a superstar and when I was young I was watching her so many times on the TV," Tan said post-match. "For my first Wimbledon, it's wow. Just wow.

    "When I saw the draw, I was really scared. Because, yeah, it's Serena Williams. She's a legend and I was like, 'Oh my God, how can I play?' If I could win one game or two games, it was really good for me.

    "I would like to thank everybody today and my team and my coach Nathalie Tauziat, who also played Serena. Thank you so much for being with me."

    Tan will now face 32nd seed Sara Sorribes Tormo, who defeated American qualifier Christina McHale 6-2 6-1.

  • Wimbledon: Serena Williams stunned by Tan in three-set marathon Wimbledon: Serena Williams stunned by Tan in three-set marathon

    Serena Williams' hopes of a winning a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at Wimbledon are over after she was beaten by the unheralded Harmony Tan in an epic first-round match.

    Williams went down 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7) on Centre Court in her first singles match since being forced to withdraw in the opening round of last year's tournament at the All England Club, when she suffered a hamstring injury during a contest with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

    The seven-time Wimbledon champion's much-heralded comeback proved to be an almighty battle and it was the SW19 debutant from France who came out on top late on Tuesday evening.

    It took outsider Tan three hours and 11 minutes to claim a huge scalp, winning what could prove to be the great Williams' final singles match at Wimbledon.

    Tan broke three times in a back-and-forth first set, with Williams unable to keep her at bay during the seventh game despite the world number 115 seeing three break points come and go before winning the fourth.

    The underdog's slice in particular proved to be difficult for the 40-year-old - 16 years senior to her opponent - to counter, and the former world number one seemed to need the break afforded by the roof closure on Centre Court to regather herself.

    Williams stamped her authority on the match in the second set to force a decider, breaking twice as she surged into a 5-0 lead before serving it out.

    Tan refused to be beaten in the final set, twice breaking back to frustrate Williams. 

    Williams was able to force a tie-break after saving a match point, and surged into a 4-0 lead - but Tan rallied once more to seize back the momentum, and celebrated a famous win after her legendary opponent netted a forehand.

  • 'Everyone got it and we said nothing' - Cornet claims players stayed quiet over French Open COVID-19 cases 'Everyone got it and we said nothing' - Cornet claims players stayed quiet over French Open COVID-19 cases

    Alize Cornet claims several players contracted COVID-19 at last month's French Open, but kept the outbreak quiet in order to avoid mass withdrawals from the tournament.

    Wimbledon has already been rocked by two high-profile male players withdrawing after testing positive for the virus, with last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic both pulling out ahead of scheduled first-round matches on Tuesday.

    Now Cornet, who equalled Ai Sugiyama's all-time record of 62 consecutive grand slam main-draw appearances in a win over Yulia Putintseva on day two, claims there were cases at Roland Garros that did not come to light.

    "At Roland Garros, there was a Covid epidemic, no one talked about it. In the locker room, everyone got it and we said nothing," she told L'Equipe.

    "When it comes out in the press, with big players, it will start to set fire to the lake everywhere and that worries me a little.

    "[2021 French Open winner Barbora] Krejcikova withdrew saying she had Covid, and the whole locker room was sick. 

    "At some point, we all might have had the flu. The thing is, we have the symptoms, itchy throat… we play and everything is fine, it's fine. 

    "At Roland, I think there have been a few cases and it's a tacit agreement between us. We are not going to self-test to get into trouble! 

    "Afterwards, I saw girls wearing masks, maybe because they knew and didn't want to pass it on. You also have to have a civic spirit."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.