BEIJING Top seed Roger Federer was beaten 6-4
7-6 by American James Blake in the quarter-finals of the
Olympic men's singles on Thursday.
The Swiss produced an error-strewn display under the Centre
Court lights after a long rain delay and was outplayed as Blake
claimed his first victory against Federer in nine meetings.
Defeat continued Federer's miserable season and leaves the
27-year-old running out of chances to win an Olympic medal,
although he is still in the doubles here.
Last month he lost his Wimbledon title to Rafael Nadal and
he will cede his world number one ranking to the Spaniard on
Blake said he always believed he could break his duck
against the 12-times grand slam champion.
"I always believed in myself," Blake, who is now just one
victory away from a guaranteed medal, told reporters. "I'd lost
to him eight, nine, 10, 50 times, I don't know how many, but I
had the feeling it could be my day today."
Eighth seed Blake played two superb baseline rallies to
close out the first set as Federer served at 5-4 down.
Federer then fell 3-0 down in the second set before
battling back to 3-3.
Luck looked to be on Federer's side when a nervy volley
dribbled over off the net tape when Blake was two points away
from victory in the 12th game of the second set.
However, the inspired American would not be denied, surging
6-2 ahead in the tiebreak and sealing victory on his first
"He didn't play a good first game and that put me up
straight away. I played loose and free and I always fancy my
chances on the 5-4 game," Blake said.
"When he got that net cord I started wondering if it would
turn around and he would come back playing like the best player
in the world. But I know I can beat the best in the world on my
day and today I proved it."
Blake will play either Chile's Fernando Gonzalez or
Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu for a place in the final.
(Editing by Jon Bramley and Alex Richardson)