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Rio -- You wont be popular back in India today.Rajeev Ram shrugs and smiles at this journalists attempt to inject some humour in the post-match media interaction. In 1981, Rajeevs parents left India to pursue the American dream. He was born three years later in Denver, Colorado. His father Raghav is a biologist and mother Sushma a scientific technician.But since the age of four, Rajeev was not interested in an academic career. His heroes were Boris Becker and Pete Sampras. Rajeev wanted to be a tennis player and pursued his dream with vigour, embarking on a a path as a professional in 2004.In this 12-year pursuit, Rajeev has won singles and doubles titles on the ATP tour and has reached as far as the semifinals at a couple of Grand Slam events. But now, Rajeev is one step away from an Olympic gold medal.In 2009, Rajeev won his first title on the ATP tour by clinching the doubles crown at the Chennai Open. Now, this, the greatest moment of his career, has come by by subduing a pair from the country his parents left behind.I have visited India since I was a kid, he says. I have lots of family there and I am proud of my heritage. My dads whole family is in India so I have lots of ties back home.It is my first Olympics. You never know if you are going to get to play another one or not. To play a match and secure a medal for sure is an unbelievable feeling.This is our third match together, but Venus and I didnt even know if we were going to be in the tournament to start with. We played a great team today, we played two people that I respect a lot and are good friends of mine. We went out there and we played well when it mattered.Rajeevs succinct assessment of their performance stands up to scrutiny. Having been blown away in under an hour in the first set, the Americans needed to respond urgently to ensure the match was not reduced to a no-contest.While Rajeev was solid on his service games in the first set, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna made repeated dents into Venus Williams serve, breaking her twice. Sania in particular played an attractive brand of tennis, pulverising the ball in her signature style but also catching the Americans off-guard with some canny lobs.It was in the second set that Venus, a winner of four Olympic Gold medals over her decorated career including three in womens doubles, ignited her inner mongrel.With an effervescent Indian crowd scenting the end of the medal drought at these Games, the older Williams sister started to discover the verve in her game. Her grunts gained ferocity and her power game built sustained pressure on the Indians. With Sanias serve broken after a long sequence of deuce and advantage points, the Americans began hooping around the court energetically.Rajeev kept his end of the bargain up by locking out the Indians from any opportunities to break his serve. His fluid single hander backhand was in fine working fettle on the night and provided some sparkling moments with passes past desperate racquets.Venus, too, had transformed by this time into the player who owns seven singles and sixteen Grand Slam doubles titles. The set was pocketed and going into the super tie break, the momentum had shifted decisively away from the Indian pairing.Sania and Bopanna did take a 3-1 lead but Venus was not about to falter on the home stretch. She creamed a clean winner off the forehand flank and followed up with an assured overhead to level the scores.In the stadium, the Indian cheering squad had fallen eerily silent with a lone voice shrieking, Come on. Sania conceded both points on her serve and soon a four-point gap opened up. Bopanna dumped an overhead into the net at 7-3, leaving only the final nail in the coffin to be slammed in.Soon enough, the job was completed and Venus erupted in squeals of delight. In an instant, Rajeev had gone from a journeyman on the circuit to a potential Olympic champion.When you can beat a big team at their best, it is a huge mental lift for us to know that we can do it against anybody, he said. We didnt panic, we didnt feel like we had to do a whole lot different to try and win. We had to do a few things, like try different formations but we believed in ourselves no matter what the score was.Gold and silver may have slipped away, but for Sania and Bopanna, Sunday provides an opportunity to join Leander Paes as Indias only Olympic tennis medalists. It will be a quick turnaround with the match against Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka scheduled to begin on midday local time in Rio.The 37-year-old Stepanek is a top class doubles player, having won 18 tour titles including an Australian and a US Open. Hradecka, 31, won the womens doubles silver at the 2012 London Olympics and also won the French Open mixed-doubles title in 2013. For both teams, the challenge will be to pick themselves up after a crushing defeat and combat for a place on the podium.This is something new for us, we dont have this on the tennis circuit, a visibly downcast Bopanna said later. We have to rest, prepare well and come back positively. Miles Bridges Hornets Jersey . Emery skated the length of the ice and fought an unwilling Holtby during the third period of the Flyers 7-0 loss Friday night in Philadelphia. He was given 29 penalty minutes, including a game misconduct. But Emery did not face even a disciplinary hearing with NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan because rules 46. Cody Zeller Hornets Jersey . -- Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Alrdridge were again the go-to duo for the Trail Blazers against the Kings. http://www.hornetsteamproshop.com/Cheap-Malik-Monk-Hornets-Jersey/ . The Islanders dealt Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens after less than a year on Long Island. Meanwhile, the Oilers dealt long-time sniper Ales hemsky to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-rounder in 2015. Nicolas Batum Hornets Jersey . The 17-year-old native of Marystown, N.L., pulled out of Skate Canada International last month in Saint John, N.B., with the same problem. Bismack Biyombo Hornets Jersey . -- Teemu Selanne scored the first goal of his 22nd NHL season, and the Anaheim Ducks extended the best start in franchise history with their fifth straight victory, 3-2 over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night. News that Tom Brady would accept his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate did little to dampen the public perception of his team; the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook still has the New England Patriots as the favorites to win Super Bowl LI.New England opened as the co-favorite to win Super Bowl LI along with the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers?at 8-1 at Westgate. Those odds were released even before Super Bowl 50 was played.The Patriots were bet down to 6-1 as the favorites at Westgate. Then, after the initial news that Brady was suspended on April 25, Westgate kept New England as the 6-1 favorite. Sportsbook operator CG Technology made the Patriots co-favorites with the Seahawks at 8-1.New Englands season expected win total dropped from 10.5 wins (over -155) to 10 (under -125), and the Patriots went from the favorite to win the AFC at +330 to co-favorites with Pittsburgh at +400 per CG Technology.ddddddddddddWestgate hadnt released its season win totals when the news broke, but opened New Englands season win total at 10.5.Now that Brady is officially out for the first four games, New England will indeed be a 5.5-point underdog at Arizona in Week 1 at Westgate (4.5 at CG Technology). According to CG Technology, New England will be favored at home in the following three games that he will miss (vs. Dolphins, Texans and Bills).At Westgate, New England is currently the 6-1 favorite to win Super Bowl LI, followed by Seattle, Pittsburgh and Green Bay at 8-1. No other AFC East team has odds better than 50-1. ' ' '

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