Spain's Nadal and Lopez win gold in men's doubles

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Rafael Nadal's first Olympic Games match since 2008

Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez of Spain won the Olympic men's doubles tennis title on Friday, beating Romania's Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau to secure their country's third gold medal of the Rio Games.

Nadal and Lopez beat the Romanians 6-2 3-6 6-4, while American duo Steve Johnson and Jack Sock beat Canada's Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-2 6-4 to clinch bronze.

SEE MORE: Everything you need to know about the Summer Olympics

The doubles win sets up Nadal for a potential golden sweep in the men's tennis events at the Rio Games as he is still alive in the singles draw.

Nadal, who won the singles gold in Beijing and skipped the 2012 London Games due to a knee injury, will play Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in a semi-final clash on Saturday.

Nadal and Lopez claimed Spain's fifth overall medal so far, following others in swimming, canoe slalom and weightlifting.

The grueling match that lasted 2 hours and 26 minutes was a challenge for Nadal who has had an exhausting schedule and cited fatigue when he pulled out of the mixed doubles on Thursday.

Nadal has struggled with a wrist injury this year and the left-hander, more known for his sweeping ground stokes than the serve and volley play typical of doubles, arrived in Rio having not played since withdrawing from the French Open in May.

Tecau and Mergea, both 31 years old, are doubles specialists and each rank among the world's top 15 male doubles players.

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