BEIJING (AP) - Roger Federer's bid for his first Olympic singles medal has ended with a loss to American James Blake. Soon afterwards, Serena Williams was eliminated in a tournament that had been upset-free through three rounds.
With the sort of lackluster performance once unthinkable for Federer, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals 6-4, 7-6 (2). Blake's victory was a stunner in that he had won only a single set in eight previous matches against Federer.
5th-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia, who won a silver medal in Sydney in 2000, raced to a 5-0 lead in the final set and held on to beat Williams 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
4th-seeded Williams tried to rally against Dementieva, overcoming two match points in the final set during an 18-point game, but Dementieva held at love in the next game, sealing the victory when Williams pushed a volley wide.
The loss came after the U.S. team had won 12 consecutive matches over the past three days.
Williams remains in contention for a doubles medal and was to play a 2nd-round match later with her sister Venus. They won a gold in doubles in 2000 in Sydney.
The top-seeded Federer has been battling a yearlong slump that has left him stalled at 12 major titles, two shy of Pete Sampras' record. His Wimbledon reign ended last month, and he came to Beijing knowing he would lose the No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal after 4½ years on top.
Federer's latest defeat means no rematch in Sunday's final against Nadal, who won an epic Wimbledon title match.
Federer had been seeking his first Olympic medal after losing in the semifinals in Sydney and in the 2nd round in Athens.
He was scheduled to play a quarterfinal doubles match later Thursday with Swiss partner Stanislas Wawrinka.
The No. 8-seeded Blake is a first-time Olympian at 28 and the lone U.S. male to survive the first round of singles.