BEIJING (Aug. 14) – Roger Federer’s bid for his first Olympic singles medal ended Thursday when he lost to James Blake of the United States, in a match where the Swiss star swatted stray balls in frustration and hung his head and stomped behind the baseline.
That was the start of an upset parade in the quarterfinals. Serena Williams lost to Elena Dementieva of Russia. And as the clock approached midnight, Venus Williams was beaten by Li Na of China.
The startling sequence came in a tournament that had gone mostly according to form through three rounds. But upsets have long been the norm in Olympic tennis – since 1988, no top-five player has won the gold medal in men’s singles.
Federer won’t do it this year. With the sort of lackluster performance once unthinkable for the stylish Swiss, he was eliminated 6-4, 7-6 (2).
The No. 5-seeded Dementieva, who won a silver medal in Sydney in 2000, raced to a 5-0 lead in the final set and held on to beat Serena Williams 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The unseeded Li then delighted a partisan center-court crowd by eliminating Venus Williams 7-5, 7-5.
A few players went against the upset trend. No. 2 Rafael Nadal beat Jurgen Melzer 6-0, 6-4 in a match that ended at 1:08 a.m. Nadal’s semifinal opponent will be No. 3 Novak Djokovic, who rallied to defeat Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
No. 3 Novak Djokovic was in jeopardy but rallied and reached the semifinals by beating Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a match that ended at 12:50 a.m.
Top-seeded Mike and Bob Bryan of the United States also went against the upset trend, winning their quarterfinal match in doubles against Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione of Australia, 6-4, 6-3.
Blake’s semifinal opponent will be No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, who defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-4, 6-4. The No. 8-seeded Blake, a first-time Olympian at 28, was the lone U.S. male to survive the first round of singles.
Source: AOL Sport
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