Roger Federer's bid for his first Olympic singles medal ended today when he lost to James Blake of the United States.
With the sort of lackluster performance once unthinkable for Federer, he was eliminated in the quarter-finals 6-4, 7-6 (2).
The upset was a stunner in that Blake had won only a single set in their previous eight matches. But the top-seeded Federer is battling a year long slump that has left him stalled at 12 Grand Slam titles, two shy of Pete Sampras' record.
Federer's latest defeat means no rematch in Sunday's final against Rafael Nadal, who won in epic fashion when they met for the Wimbledon title.
Federer is seeking his first Olympic medal after losing in the singles semi-finals in Sydney and in the second round in Athens. He was scheduled to play a quarter-final doubles match later today with Swiss partner Stanislas Wawrinka.
The upset was sweet for the eight-seeded Blake, a first-time Olympian at 28 and the lone U.S. male to survive the first round of singles.
In a tournament that had been upset-free through three rounds, the first surprise was a shock.
The match began after a rain delay of 3 hours, 35 minutes, and Federer seemed off his game from the start. His forehand — once the sport's most feared — was unreliable, and he repeatedly struggled to hold serve.
Blake earned the first break in the final game of the opening set. On set point, Federer left his feet for a spectacular backhand save that extended the rally, but with his next shot he floated an easy backhand into the net.
His shoulders sagging, he was broken again two games later and fell behind 3-0 in the second set.
Federer finally showed life by breaking back in the fifth game and holding the rest of the way to reach 6-all. But Blake played a flawless tiebreaker, while Federer made two unforced errors and popped up a volley.
When Federer sailed a return long on match point, Blake screamed "Yeah!" Federer ripped off his headband and walked head down to the net.
It just wasn't Federer's night: He even went 0-4 on replay challenges.Reuse content