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London 2012: Day Nine Pick 'Em

Roger Federer hits a forehand in his Olympic singles semi-final.
by Dan Imhoff
Sunday 5 August 2012

Our guide to what to look out for on the final day of the London 2012 Olympic tennis event...

Roger Federer (SUI) [1] v Andy Murray (GBR) [3]: Federer will attempt to continue the trend of career golden slams achieved at London 2012 after Serena Williams and the Bryan brothers fulfilled their destinies yesterday. An Olympic singles gold medal is the only accolade missing for the Swiss great but he will be up against the might of Andy Murray and a packed British Centre Court crowd. Playing for gold before a home Olympic crowd is an opportunity few sportsmen or women are thrust into in their careers so many will feel the destiny is Murray’s after losing a fourth Grand Slam singles final on this same arena to the same man a month ago. Head to head they are locked at eight apiece but Murray is yet to beat Federer on the big stage. He was imperious against a rattled Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals while Federer battled for nearly four and a half hours to shatter Juan Martin del Potro’s gold medal dreams in the match of these Olympic Games. Murray is assured of at least two silver medals by the end of play today but there’s no question, this is the one that matters most to the Scot. In this best-of-five-set final, expect Murray to start in a canter to pile the pressure on Switzerland’s man. It is the first match of these Games Federer will not have enjoyed the overwhelming majority of crowd support and despite being Wimbledon’s favourite son he will not enjoy the same level of applause he managed to garner from Murray’s home crowd in that Wimbledon final.
Pick: Federer if it goes to five, but Murray to race out of the blocks and sneak home in four.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [2] v Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) [8]: There was something amiss for the passionate Serb in his semi-final, while del Potro was simply inspirational in losing the greatest tennis match of these Olympic Games so far. The big Argentine had to be consoled at net after losing 3-6, 7-6, 19-17 to Federer after nearly four and a half hours and the loss – his 13th in 15 meetings with the Swiss No.1 – will have taken a heavy toll, physically but even more so emotionally. It’s a tall ask for the eighth seed to rebound today against a man desperate to salvage a medal. For Djokovic a second Olympic bronze medal would at least be some consolation for a campaign in which deep down he’d surely have expected to finish with gold draped around his neck. Hard to believe this time last year the Serb was on an absolute tear, winning all before him. Confidence levels for both will have been sapped a little after their semi-final losses and neither will want to finish a forgotten fourth at an Olympic Games.
Pick: The big Argentine to push early before Djokovic races to the podium in two.

Andy Murray/Laura Robson (GBR) v Max Mirnyi/Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [1]: It’s a big day for Murray playing for two gold medals. This match will follow his singles final so a lot depends on whether he upsets Federer or whether his mind will be left to rue another runner-up finish on the big stage. The Belarusians rallied from a set down to see off third seeds Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan last night but playing against a raucous British crowd will be a different kettle of fish.
Pick: The crowd to carry the Brits over the line, giving Muzz two from two.

Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE) [4] v Serena Williams/Venus Williams: The Czech girls were impressive as the blew top seeds Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber off the court but that fire-power will take a backseat to that of the Williams sisters on Centre Court. The Americans already have two Olympic doubles golds to their names and while unseeded, nobody ever considers them anything but the No.1 pairing in the world, should they choose to play.
Pick: Venus and Serena to blast off for a third doubles gold.

Lisa Raymond/Liezel Huber (USA) [1] v Maria Kirilenko/Nadia Petrova (RUS) [3]: There’s only one thing more heartbreaking than finishing fourth in Olympic tennis, and that’s finishing fourth twice. Unfortunately that is what Kirilenko is facing today. Expect the top-ranked American veterans to come out inspired – having missed out on gold – to send Kirilenko and Petrova home empty-handed.

Lisa Raymond/Mike Bryan (USA) [3] v Sabine Lisicki/Christopher Kas (GER): Raymond’s playing for two bronze medals today and will be favoured to collect both. It’s the two No.1s pairing up against the unseeded Germans who had knocked out their respective Team USA doubles partners, Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.

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