Tampa Bay’s Austin Krajicek, Tennys Sandgren—last hope for U.S. in tennis—fall in bronze medal match

Tokyo 2020

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 30: Tennys Sandgren of Team USA and Austin Krajicek of Team USA play Marcus Daniell of Team New Zealand and Michael Venus of Team New Zealand in their Men’s Doubles Bronze Medal match on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(NBC Olympics) — The American men’s doubles duo of Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren fell to New Zealand’s Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus in the men’s doubles match on Friday in Tokyo.

Krajicek and Sandgren kept things close in the first set, leading multiple times before ultimately losing a tiebreak set. They went down 3-0 to start the second set, but battled back to 4-2 before dropping the final two games. 

The bronze is New Zealand’s first Olympic medal in tennis since 1912. 

The American pair was the nation’s last hope of winning a tennis medal at these Olympics. Tokyo is the first Games in which the United States will not win a tennis medal since the sport’s return to the Olympics in 1988.

Frances Tiafoe and Rajeev Ram, the other U.S. men’s doubles team, lost in the second round. In women’s doubles for the U.S., Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jessica Pegula were knocked out in the quarterfinals and the Alison Riske/Nicole Melichar team lost in the first round. 

Sandgren. who also qualified in singles, lost in the first round. Tommy Paul, the only men’s singles player on the roster who qualified outright, lost in the first round, then Tiafoe and Marcos Giron both lost in the second round. On the women’s singles side, all three Americans — Jennifer Brady, Pegula and Riske — lost in the first round.

The mixed doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who both won medals with other mixed doubles partners in 2016, also lost in the first round. 

The U.S. won a gold, silver and bronze medal in tennis at the 2016 Olympic Games. But this year’s roster was ravaged by opt-outs, including by the four-time Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams, and then headliner Coco Gauff tested positive for COVID-19 days before the Games and had to withdraw. 

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