The American men’s doubles pair of Steve Johnson and Jack Sock began Friday with hopes of winning the nation’s second consecutive gold medal, following up on the triumph of the Bryan brothers at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. But a straight set loss to Romania’s Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau in the semifinals dropped the Americans into the bronze medal match, meaning only a win would get them onto the medal stand.
Johnson and Sock bounced back in a big way, defeating Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Vacek Pospisil in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, to take the bronze.
This is the first Olympic medal of any kind for both Johnson, who lost to Great Britain’s Andy Murray in the quarterfinals of the men’s singles tournament, and Sock. This is the fourth time since the 1988 Summer Olympics that the U.S. has won a medal in men’s singles, with Ken Flach and Robert Seguso taking gold in Seoul and the Bryan brothers taking bronze in 2008 and gold in 2012.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez won the gold medal match, beating the Romanian tandem of Mergea and Tecau 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Nadal, who took gold in men’s singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, has now won two Olympic gold medals in his career with a chance for a third as he’s in the men’s single semifinals. This is Lopez’s first Olympic gold of any kind, and it’s the first-ever gold medal in men’s doubles for Spain (first medal since 2000).
American Madison Keys will also look to win a bronze medal after falling in the semifinals of the women’s singles tournament to Germany’s Angelique Kerber. The mixed doubles tandem of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram advanced to the semifinal round, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Jack Sock have quarterfinal match of their own later Friday.