In a close all-American mixed doubles final, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock edged past opponents Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram to win gold.
With this victory, Mattek-Sands earned her first Olympic medal. It is the second medal for Sock, who won men’s doubles bronze earlier this week.
The final’s first set saw Williams and Ram edge out Mattek-Sands/Sock in a tiebreak, 7(7)-6(3). But the second set was almost a blowout, with Mattek-Sands and Sock dominating 6-1.
While Williams and Ram fought hard in a third-set tiebreak, Mattek-Sands and Sock held steady to win the match 6(3)-7(7), 6-1, 10-7. (In lieu of a third set, mixed doubles have tiebreaks that go to 10 points.)
Sock is the possessor of two Grand Slam titles, having won the mixed doubles competition at the 2011 US Open alongside American Melanie Oudin and the men’s doubles competition at Wimbledon 2014 alongside Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Bethanie Mattek-Sands has won four Grand Slam titles, including two in women’s doubles (the 2015 Australian Open, the 2015 French Open) and two in mixed doubles (the 2012 Australian Open, the 2015 French Open).
Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram will still walk away with a silver medal. Previously, Williams had won four gold medals since Sydney 2000, including three in women’s doubles alongside sister Serena.
The World No. 7 singles player, Williams was shut out of the Rio women’s singles and doubles competitions after losing in the first rounds. The losses were especially surprising considering she had advanced to the Wimbledon singles semifinal last month, and won that tournament’s doubles competition with Serena.
It was later revealed that Venus had recently been battling illness.
Ram wasn’t initially selected to represent the United States at the Rio Olympics. He was only added to the roster after the London 2012 men’s doubles winners, Bob and Mike Bryan, withdrew from the tournament.