Mirnyi/Azarenka Win Belarus Olympic Mixed Doubles Gold Medal
by James Buddell|
Belarusians Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka won the mixed doubles gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event on Sunday.
The top seeds beat Great Britain’s Andy Murray and Laura Robson 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in 82 minutes on Centre Court at the All England Club, Wimbledon. At 35, Mirnyi became the oldest man to win a tennis medal since the sport was reinstated into the Olympic Games in 1988.
"This is a dream come true at possibly my last Olympics," said Mirnyi. "It’s fabulous to win the title. It certainly adds an extra spice to the tournament, it being at Wimbledon.
"The emotions are beyond words right now. It’s the pinnacle of my career, for sure. We came to the Olympics to represent our country and to have won a gold medal, it couldn’t have been better."
Murray, who had won the Olympic singles gold medal barely one hour earlier, played with confidence at the start of the match. He combined with Robson to break Mirnyi’s serve in the first game of the match. Murray hit a forehand return to Mirnyi’s feet on their second break point opportunity. They went onto break Azarenka to 15 and opened up a 4-0 lead before the Belarusian pair won their first game.
In the second set, Mirnyi pounced on two volleys to break Robson in the third game. It provided Mirnyi and Azarenka the impetus they needed. Targeting 18-year-old Robson, the duo hit 12 winners and committed just three unforced errors in the 29-minute set to quieten the majority of the supporters. They lost just six points on serve.
Mirnyi and Azarenka seized control of the Match tie-break, opening up a 3-0 lead before Murray and Robson levelled the score line. At 6-6, Mirnyi and Azarenka won three straights points. On their third match point, Mirnyi served to Murray who returned to Azarenka, who smashed the pair’s 21st winner.
Mirnyi has a 6-4 record in Grand Slam championship men’s doubles finals. He plays with Canadian Daniel Nestor on the ATP World Tour and is currently No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings.
In the bronze medal match, third-seeded Americans Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond defeated Christopher Kas and Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 in the final match of the day. Mike Bryan also won the doubles gold medal with his twin brother, Bob Bryan, on Saturday.
"[The] bronze medal feels really good," said Mike Bryan. "I told her (Raymond) that it's been a great 28 days and we'd rather take this over Wimby any day - this is an Olympic medal. Thanks Lisa. Thanks for the bronze."
Mixed doubles was included as a medal sport at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event for the first time since the 1924 Paris Olympics.